Gigaphoton unveils new function that enables 50% reduction of neon gas consumption for ArF immersion lasers

Gigaphoton Inc., a lithography light source manufacturer, today unveils a new function, called “eTGM,” available for its flagship high-output GT Series of ArF immersion laser products. The eTGM function, a new technology that reduces neon gas consumption by approx. 50%, was developed as part of the EcoPhoton™ program, a roadmap to implement Green Innovations that is being promoted by Gigaphoton.

Today, ArF immersion lasers used for leading-edge semiconductor fabrication utilize a mixture of neon, fluorine, and argon gases as a laser gas, with neon gas accounting for more than 96% of the laser gas mixture. Therefore, a fairly large amount of neon gas is consumed to run ArF immersion lasers. On the other hand, world production of neon gas has been reduced recently, raising the possibility that the price of neon gas will rise in the near future to cause a critical challenge to the entire industry.

The eTGM function closely monitors the laser running status, thereby allowing the injection amount and discharge amount of laser gas to be optimized. By incorporating the eTGM function into the laser unit, the consumption of neon gas can be cut by half without lowering the laser performance. The eTGM function is provided as an option for Gigaphoton’s ArF immersion lasers, and can be incorporated into lasers already running in the field.

In addition, along with introduction of the eTGM function, a new “green monitoring” function is also provided as an upgrade for the paddle of the laser. This upgrade allows the user to monitor the consumption of laser gas in real time under a production environment.

“I am very pleased to introduce eTGM to the market as a new product from our Green Innovations,” commented Hitoshi Tomaru, President and CEO of Gigaphoton, “We believe this technology will help our customers to manage the gas cost in their fabs at an optimum level, thus providing an effective measure against the risk of a rise of neon gas cost caused by the unstable supply of this noble gas. We are committed to proceeding with our EcoPhoton™ program to make further contributions to greening of the semiconductor industry.”

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