Making processors making machines | About ASML և EUV systems

Today I want to talk about one but crucial step in this whole technological process – the creation of a processor-creating machine. In fact, this is not a car, but a lithographic system. It’s almost amazingly difficult to make than computer chips themselves. And they are doing it in a company whose disappearance will slow down digital progress for a good two decades.

This company is at the heart of the $ 400 billion chip industry, without which Intel, Samsung and TSMC would not be able to produce chips. This equipment is so complex that only a few dozen are produced annually. And this natural monopoly is a little terrible.

It is a multinational company ASML from the Netherlands, which develops and manufactures photolithography systems, mining chip options at Intel, Samsung and TSMC. ASML is a unique company. It is the only one in the world today that has systems capable of producing 13.5 nm of wavelength radiation. This range is called UV. Next to the level of X-rays.

The narrower the light wave, the more subtle details it can paint on silicon waffles for future processors. The smaller the details, the smaller the size of the transistors, the more they fit on one chip, the more efficient the energy-efficient chips.

It is difficult to think of another such company, which could be so unknown to the general public at the same time.