Intel Excessive-NA Lithography Replace: Dev Work On Intel 18A, Manufacturing On Future Node #Imaginations Hub

Intel Excessive-NA Lithography Replace: Dev Work On Intel 18A, Manufacturing On Future Node #Imaginations Hub
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As a part of Intel’s suite of {hardware} bulletins at this yr’s Intel Innovation 2023 convention, the corporate supplied a short replace on their plans for Excessive-NA EUV machines, which is able to turn into a cornerstone of future Intel course of nodes. Following some adjustments in Intel’s course of roadmap – particularly Intel 18A being pulled in as a result of it was forward of schedule – Intel’s plans for the next-generation EUV machines. Intel will now solely be utilizing the machines with their 18A node as a part of their improvement and validation work of the brand new machines; manufacturing use of Excessive-NA machines will now come on Intel’s post-18A node.

Excessive Numerical Aperture (Excessive-NA) machines are the subsequent technology of EUV photolithography machines. The huge scanners incorporate 0.55 numerical aperture optics, considerably bigger than the 0.33 NA optics utilized in first-generation manufacturing EUV machines, which is able to finally enable for larger/finer high quality traces to be etched. Finally, Excessive-NA machines are going to be a important element to enabling nodes beneath 2nm/20 angstroms.

On the time that Intel laid out their “5 nodes in 4 years” roadmap in 2021, the corporate introduced that they have been going to be the lead buyer for ASML’s Excessive-NA machines, and can be receiving the primary manufacturing machine. Excessive-NA, in flip, was slated to be a serious a part of Intel’s 18A node.

Dimension Comparability: ASML Regular & Excessive NA EUV Machines

However since 2021, plans have modified for Intel, seemingly in a great way. Progress on 18A has been forward of schedule, such that, in 2022, Intel introduced they have been pulling in 18A manufacturing from 2025 to H2’2024. Provided that the discharge date of ASML’s Excessive-NA machines has not modified, nevertheless, that announcement from Intel left open some questions on how Excessive-NA would match into their 18A node. And now we lastly have some clarification on the matter from Intel.

Excessive-NA machines are not part of Intel’s manufacturing plans for 18A. With the node now arriving earlier than production-grade Excessive-NA machines, Intel will likely be producing 18A with the instruments they’ve, akin to ASML’s NXE 3000 collection EUV scanners. As a substitute, the intersection between 18A and Excessive-NA will likely be that Intel utilizing the 18A line to develop and validate using Excessive-NA scanners for future manufacturing. After which, Intel will lastly use Excessive-NA machines as a part of the manufacturing course of for his or her next-generation, post-18A node, which is just being known as “Intel Subsequent” proper now.

As for the primary Excessive-NA improvement machine, Intel additionally confirmed this week that their schedule for improvement stays on monitor. Intel is slated to obtain their first Excessive-NA machine late this yr – which as Pat Gelsinger put it in his keynote, is his Christmas current to Dr. Ann Kelleher, Intel’s EVP and GM of know-how improvement.

Lastly, again as regards to the Intel 18A course of, Intel says that they’re progressing properly on their second-generation angstrom node. The 0.9 PDK, which ought to be the ultimate pre-production PDK, is almost achieved, and will allow Intel’s groups to ramp up designing chips for the method. Intel, for its half, intends to start out 18A silicon fab work on Q1’2024. Based mostly on Intel’s roadmaps up to now, that’s probably going to be the primary revision of one of many dies on Panther Lake, Intel’s first 18A consumer platform.

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