GIGAPHOTON provides new function for 50% reduction of neon gas consumption for ArF immersion laser users

Gigaphoton Inc., a lithography light source manufacturer, today announces the provision of a new function, called “eTGM (eco-Total Gas Management),” for the existing users of its flagship high-output GT Series of ArF immersion laser products free of charge for a fixed period of time.

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. However, on top of a recent reduction in supply of neon gas, political uncertainty in Ukraine, one of major Ne production countries, and flooding in Odessa Oblast this September have currently limited the supply of this rare gas, leading to a rise in its price. This may cause a critical challenge to its major user, the world semiconductor industry.

In order to support stable high-volume manufacturing (HVM) of semiconductor devices, Gigaphoton has decided to provide its eTGM function, which allows up to 50% reduction of neon gas consumption, to its ArF immersion laser users free of charge during the time until the supply of neon gas has again reached normal levels. The eTGM function is a new technology developed by Gigaphoton to allow great reduction of neon gas consumption according to its EcoPhoton program. It 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. 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.

“In order to support the stable high-volume manufacturing of semiconductor devices, we have decided to provide the eTGM function free of charge to ensure a reliable production environment as a major laser supplier,” commented Hitoshi Tomaru, President and CEO of Gigaphoton, “We are committed to proceeding with our EcoPhoton program to make further contributions to greening of the semiconductor industry.”

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