Candriam Tech News – ASML

The general public often associates innovation with major brands such as Apple, Google, Uber and Facebook. But many companies less known to the general public are just as innovative. These companies possess true, often unique,
know-how that is worth a closer look. Today we take a look at Dutch company ASML,
which is active in the semiconductor industry. As you know, semiconductors are essential
manufacturing components of computers and mobile phones, but can also be found in cars,
fridges and many other devices. In 2016, this market was worth around 340 billion USD. ASML is developing an innovative technology called EUV, which will enable the semiconductor industry to continue to shrink the size of chips and make them more powerful and less energy-consuming. One of the most important steps
in the manufacture of semiconductors is the etching of circuit lines onto the chip material. Photolithography is one of the most common
techniques used to do this. Basically, light is used to transfer
a well-defined pattern onto the substrate. By using Extreme Ultraviolet Light as a light
source, it is possible to shrink the line width to below 7 nanometers. To give you an idea of how focused this EUV beam is: it is equivalent to shining a light torch from the earth and hitting a 50 eurocent coin placed on the moon. Ultraviolet light is used to create billions
of micro-etchings on thin silicon plates. These plates are then assembled into integrated
circuits or chips. Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography (EUV) devices
offer greater precision than previous lithography machines and that clears the way to smaller,
faster and more powerful chips. After years of development and testing, EUV systems have now achieved unparalleled productivity. Moore’s Law suggests that this productivity
will expand even more in the coming years. Consequently, we believe that ASML is an innovative
forward-looking company and can be considered an excellent long term investment opportunity.

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