ASML buys Cymer to advance EUV lithography

Chip equipment manufacturer ASML has given a boost to extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV) development with the €1.95 billion ($2.6 billion) acquisition of Cymer.

The deal will see Dutch ASML take full control of its supplier Cymer, a company responsible for producing lithography light sources used in the manufacturing process for microchips.  

ASML CEO Eric Maurice said that the the transaction, due to go through in the first half of 2013, will accelerate the development of technologies necessary to produce future generations of microchips.  

“We expect the merger  to make EUV technology development significantly more efficient and simplify the supply chain and integration flow of the EUV modules,” Maurice explained.

Cymer boss Bob Akins added that the success of EUV is “critical” to the future of the semiconductor industry, and looks forward to an accelerated time frame as part of the deal.

EUV lithography is vital to produce chips at ever smaller sizes, particularly as manufacturers approach the limits of Moore’s Law.  Essentially, the use of  EUV, will mean faster and more powerful chips will be able to be produced at lower costs over the coming years.

ASML is considered the leader in development of the technology and it hopes to begin selling EUV lithography equipment around 2014.

ASML has already received the backing of major chip manufacturers, with Intel, Samsung and TSMC buying stakes in the firm. ASML is demanding a  significant contribution towards R&D spending to get EUV lithography up and running. 

The acquisition, which will also see ASML snap up Cymer’s DUV division, should help speed along the development of the systems which ASML intends to, ultimately, supply.