Intel has announced that manufacturing of 18A-node chips will commence in H2 2024, six months ahead of schedule. According to a roadmap released last year, this node will be Intel’s first to employ high-NA lithography. It’s not clear whether this means that the next-gen EUV technology makes its debut in production a little earlier than expected. Last January, ASML CEO Peter Wennink told investors that he expected high-volume high-NA manufacturing to start in 2025 or 2026.
ASML’s first high-NA system, the Twinscan EXE:5000, is fully production-capable, but chip manufacturers will initially use it for process development. The first unit will ship in H1 2023, with Intel on the receiving end. The US processor maker also placed the first order for the EXE:5000’s successor, the EXE:5200. The swift adoption of high-NA is an important element in Intel’s strategy to regain “unquestioned leadership” in the semiconductor industry by 2025.
Intel will insert high-NA into its process nodes “as soon as the capability is ready. We do this by building flexibility into our design rules and working closely with our product design partners,” a spokesperson emailed to Bits&Chips.