TSMC will buy ASML’s High NA EUV chipmaking machines in 2024

TSMC aims to mass-produce its N2 process in 2025, while at this stage it is mainly the yield and yield of other N3 processes, which are considered to be one of the most advanced chip manufacturing technologies in the world. With the delay of Intel Meteor Lake and the performance of the N3 process not satisfying Apple, TSMC is likely to abandon the N3 process and shift its focus to the N3E process for mass production next year, which belongs to the second version of the 3nm process.

Although TSMC’s short-term process advancement plan seems to have suffered some setbacks, it has not affected the research and development of its technology. More recently, Dr. Y.J. Mii, senior vice president of R&D and technology at TSMC, shared more information. According to Wccftech, TSMC will turn to machines with larger lenses in the next stage and plans to buy ASML’s High NA EUV chipmaking machine in 2024, which is generally believed to be used in the manufacture of 2nm chips.

Image: ASML

According to ASML, the new EUV system with a high numerical aperture (High-NA) will provide a 0.55 numerical aperture, compared with the previous EUV system equipped with a 0.33 numerical aperture lens, accuracy will increase, enabling higher-resolution patterning to achieve smaller transistor features while producing more than 200 wafers per hour. Intel has previously announced the purchase of the industry’s first TWINSCAN EXE:5200 system, with plans to use High-NA EUV for production from 2025.

After TSMC gets the High NA EUV chipmaking machine in 2024, it will only be used for R&D and collaboration at the initial stage and will be adjusted according to its own requirements during the period, and then used for mass production at an appropriate time. Unlike the 3nm process node, the 2nm process node will use Gate-all-around FETs (GAAFET) transistors. TSMC claims that compared with the 3nm process, there will be a 10% to 15% performance improvement, and power consumption can be reduced by 25% to 30%. The N2 process is expected to be ready for risk production in late 2024 and enter mass production in late 2025, with customers receiving the first chips in 2026.