ASML Holding N.V. develops, manufactures, markets sells, and services advanced semiconductor equipment systems. The company was founded in 1984 as a joint venture between Advanced Semiconductor Materials International and Phillips in order to develop lithography systems for the semiconductor industry. The company’s vision and mission is helping chipmakers advance global technology for the better of mankind, the company’s IPO was in 1995.
These systems are used to embed layer upon layer of information onto microchips using a variety of methodologies. The three main segments of ASML Holdings operations are lithography, metrology, and inspection-related systems for the memory and logic semiconductor industry. The company’s claim to fame is its ability to empower chipmakers to mass produce patterns in silicon. Two of the key areas of advancement are the resolution of projection the company is able to achieve and the size (very small) of the chips its products can make.
ASML Holding was formerly known as ASML Lithography Holding N.V. but changed its name in 2001. The company is headquartered in Veldhoven, the Netherlands and has operations in Europe, North America, Japan, China, and Taiwan among others. ASML Holdings employs more than 32,000 people including 122 nationalities working in more than 60 locations globally but the road to succes was not without difficulty. ASML Holdings nearly went out of business in the late ‘80s but an investment from Phillips board member Henk Bodt and the development of the PAS 5500 lithography system sealed the company’s fate. The PAS 5500s turned out to be such an advancement in microchip lithography there are many still in use today.
ASML is the only company currently offering Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography systems to the chipmaking industry and the technology is widely used. The lithography systems project and imprint a pattern onto the chip and then repeat the pattern over and over again building layers of patterns that drive its functionality. Because ASML Holdings technology is so widely used, it is highly likely the device you are using to read this company profile is powered by chips made with ASML devices.
The company not only provides extreme ultraviolet lithography systems but it also manufactures deep ultraviolet lithography systems comprising immersion technology and dry lithography solutions to manufacture various ranges of semiconductor nodes and technologies. This is important because each layer of semiconductor patterns may require a different methodology to imprint.
In addition to lithography technology, ASML Holding also offers metrology and inspection systems to gauge and maintain the quality of production. ASML metrology tools include YieldStar optical metrology solutions which measure the quality of patterns embedded on the semiconductor wafers. ASML also offers HMI e-beam solutions that can locate and analyze production defects on individual chips.
Another of the cutting-edge services provided by the company is computational lithography and the software solutions to go along with it. Computational lithography is a science of advancing semiconductor technology and the processes behind semiconductor manufacturing and is in high demand on a global scale. Along with this, ASML has a suite of products and services for maintaining and rebuilding used semiconductor lithography equipment.