Imec and ASML Holding N.V. have unveiled the High NA EUV Lithography Lab in Veldhoven, the Netherlands, marking a crucial step in preparing high-numerical-aperture extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography for high-volume production, expected to commence in 2025–2026.

The lab will grant leading-edge logic and memory chip makers and advanced materials and equipment suppliers access to the first prototype High NA EUV scanner (TWINSCAN EXE:5000) along with processing and metrology tools. This access aims to aid chip manufacturers in de-risking the technology and developing private High NA EUV use cases before the scanners become operational in their production fabs. The lab also offers access to the broader ecosystem of material and equipment suppliers and to imec’s High NA patterning program.

The preparation for the 0.55 NA EUV scanner and infrastructure involved intense work that started in 2018, resulting in the successful printing of 10 nm dense lines (20 nm pitch) using the prototype scanner. High NA EUV lithography is anticipated to pattern metal lines/spaces with 20 nm pitch in one single exposure, promising the next generation of DRAM chips. The lab will serve as a virtual extension of imec's cleanroom in Leuven, enabling further improvement of the patterning ecosystem and pushing the resolution of the High NA EUV towards its ultimate limits.

ASML's president and CEO emphasized that the lab provides an opportunity for EUV customers, partners, and suppliers to access the High NA EUV system for process development, potentially accelerating the learning curve on the technology and facilitating its introduction in manufacturing.