Advertisment

Photomask market: Expect 26pc growth by 2010

author-image
CIOL Bureau
Updated On
New Update

USA: At a value of $3.01 billion in 2007, the photomask market, supplied by both merchant and captive mask shops, is the second largest wafer fabrication materials market behind silicon.

Advertisment

Looking forward, the photomask market is expected maintain its number two position in fab materials and reach $3.89 billion by 2010. North America is the largest photomask market in terms of mask revenue but the Taiwan market is expected to surpass North America by 2009.

2007 Photomask Market Distribution by Region (on a Revenue Basis)

Source: SEMI, USA

Advertisment

Optical lithography continues to push out the new approaches, including extreme ultraviolet (EUV), maskless lithography, and nano-imprint. Immersion lithography is now being used in production for 45-nm processing, with the notable exception of Intel.

Key to immersion lithography’s adoption comes from the fact that it is an evolutionary, rather than revolutionary step. Although manufacturers must purchase immersion tools, prior investments and expertise in training, subsystems, lasers, optical materials and coatings can be leveraged in immersion lithography.

Current water-based immersion systems can achieve 38-nm feature sizes in a single pass. In its early stages, it was thought that water used in immersion systems would be substituted out for a fluid with a higher index. However, the industry has failed to find a suitable alternative.

Advertisment

Double patterning has now emerged as the leading candidate for 32-nm but double patterning has its own challenges, such as added process complexity, including stringent overlay requirements, increased need for critical dimension control, and the decomposition of complex patterns creating more complicated layout design restrictions, all of which increase costs. Despite the added complexity, progress is being made with this technique.

A recently published SEMI report, Photomask Characterization Summary, provides details on photomasks for the semiconductor market in 2007 and provides a forecast to 2010. Seven regions of the world are covered in this report including North America, Japan, Europe, Korea, Taiwan, China, and Rest of World (ROW). Market size estimates reflect the merchant and captive market only, and exclude license, royalty, and equipment revenues.

The author is senior market analyst, SEMI Industry Research and Statistics

Source: SEMI, USA

semicon