Cymer second-generation lithography lasers reduce neon consumption

Cymer announced a second-generation solution to reduce the consumption of neon gas in its ArF light sources.

Dec 16th, 2015

Cymer (San Diego, CA), an ASML company and lithography light source manufacturer for the patterning of semiconductor chips, announced a second-generation solution to reduce theconsumption of neon gas in its argon-fluoride (ArF) light sources. Neon is used in the routine operation of semiconductor light sources, and has recently been subject to supply limitations. Cymer's latest gas control technology is expected to deliver up to 75% reduction in neon consumption, further reducing the impact on chipmakers from neon shortages and price fluctuations.

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Cymer says this is the result of the comprehensive Neon Reduction Program it started earlier this year that led to a solution to reduce neon consumption by approximately 50% for ArF and 30% for KrF lasers that was adopted widely by customers. The Program consisted of multiple elements: providing chipmakers with short-term containment solutions to immediately reduce neon consumption; expanding the approved list of gas suppliers through a rapid qualification process; developing new gas control technology that would fundamentally reduce the gas consumption while maintaining light source throughput and availability; and implementing a longer-term reclaim and recycling program to reduce demand for neon

"Neon supply continuity and price variability have strongly impacted our customers," said David Knowles, VP of Cymer Light Source. "This latest release is part of our commitment to reduce the dependence on neon by collaborating with our customers to quickly release new solutions."

In addition to the neon reduction solutions, Cymer continues to support efforts to capture and reclaim the used neon gas from light sources. Cymer is also developing a gas recycling unit that can be installed in a semiconductor fab to provide local recycling through a sequence of filtering and reconstituting the correct mixture for reuse.

"The rapid onset of the neon supply issue, and the potential ramifications--including a potential disruption in integrated circuit (IC) production--made a timely resolution critical," said Ted Cacouris, product marketing director at Cymer. "We believe that the Neon Reduction Program has eased supply constraints and produced neon-saving solutions for the semiconductor industry that will amount to over 70 million liters per year, or more than $200M."

SOURCE: Cymer; http://www.cymer.com/files/news/CymerToReduceNeonConsumptionOnArFandKrFLightSources.pdf

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