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ASML is a Dutch company and the world’s primary supplier of lithography systems for the semiconductor industry. Of all the major chip producers worldwide, more than 80% are ASML customers. The company manufactures complex machines that are crucial in the production of integrated circuits (also called ICs or chips).
Additional recommended knowledge
ASML systems – steppers and step-and-scan machines – use a photographic process to apply patterns onto silicon wafer (electronics). The wafers are first covered with a thin film of light-sensitive material (photoresist), and a light source (e.g. a laser beam) projects an image of a pattern onto the wafer through a reducing lens. The wafer is then developed and undergoes further treatment to create the first layer of the circuit pattern. This procedure is repeated 30 to 40 times creating a wafer full of IC's layer by layer. When finished, these IC's are used to make electronic products that people use everyday in their homes, at work or when they travel, such as computers, TV's, cameras, mobile telephones, smart cards and MP3 players. In fact, 60% of all computer chips produced worldwide are manufactured with ASML machines (data 2007).
The greatest challenge that ASML and its customers face is to create ever-smaller chips, with more features, more storage, faster operation or lower energy consumption. All this has to do with Moore’s Law. Primarily, lithography systems determine whether the chip size can be reduced: the size of the projected image needs to be ever smaller. The smallest images that ASML systems currently can create on silicon wafers measure 37 nanometres (February 2007).
ASML is a technological leader with a strong market position. ASML’s corporate headquarters is in Veldhoven, the Netherlands. It is also the location for research, development, manufacturing and assembly. ASML has a worldwide customer base and over fifty service points in fourteen countries. The company is listed on both the AEX and NASDAQ Stock Exchanges, as ASML.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "ASML_Holding". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|