San Diego at a glance
ASML San Diego is responsible for the R&D and manufacturing of EUV light sources for lithography systems. Cymer focuses on DUV light sources. Without a light source, there is no chip.
Year acquired Cymer
Average volunteer hours annually
Our technology in San Diego
We deliver the light source in a lithography machine, which projects the pattern to be printed onto a silicon wafer. The smaller the wavelength of light produced, the finer the features you can pattern onto a chip, enabling shrink.
EUV light source technology
The team at ASML San Diego designs, develops and qualifies the EUV (extreme ultraviolet) light source, as well as manufactures a critical system component called the droplet generator (DG). The droplet generator is the heartbeat of the source, delivering a steady stream of 50,000 liquid tin droplets per second, which fly at more than 241 kilometers per hour in a vacuum vessel. The size, spacing and frequency of the droplets all impact the amount of EUV light produced.
Each droplet – whose size is a fraction of the thickness of a human hair – is individually imaged and targeted by two high-power CO2 laser pulses, generating a plasma that emits EUV light. A highly-polished, multilayer mirror collects and reflects the 13.5-nanometer EUV light to a precise exit point of the vessel and directed at the scanner.
This requires a veritable orchestra of lasers, cameras and other sensors (collectively called vessel metrology) to ensure the creation, optimization and regulation of stable plasma for EUV generation. ASML San Diego engineers must determine the optimal points in space and time for the laser to target droplets to generate the plasma, requiring extreme precision and synchronization. The resulting EUV light output must meet precise energy profile requirements for the scanner so that every die is evenly exposed by EUV light on the wafer.
Tin management is also a unique and challenging problem within the EUV source, since the material is both necessary and problematic: it is required to create the light source, but it can contaminate the optics. ASML San Diego focuses on researching and developing effective mechanisms to capture and remove tin from the vessel, as well as transport the tin out of the system.
DUV light source technology
Independently operated business Cymer develops, markets, sells and services DUV light sources.
ASML San Diego develops, markets, sells and services DUV light sources from independently operated business Cymer. A leading-edge DUV light source weighs more than 3,000 kilograms and is roughly the size of three large refrigerators standing side by side. Find out more about Cymer light source technology and products.
Working in San Diego
Located in southern California, San Diego is on the coast of the Pacific Ocean. It is a coveted place to live and work for its idyllic climate, and 70 miles of spectacular coastline and beaches. San Diego is also a burgeoning center for healthcare and biotechnology companies.
Southern California lifestyle
San Diego is known for its pleasant climate, characterized by warm, dry summers and mild winters that cultivate an active, outdoor lifestyle. Residents may surf, play sand volleyball, golf or hike after – and sometimes even before – work.
This helps promote a relaxed and friendly beachside culture. Yet as the second-largest city in California, San Diego also offers all the excitement and activities expected from a big city – a bustling downtown surrounded by diverse neighborhoods that each have their own vibes.
‘America’s finest city’
San Diego is also known as ‘America’s finest city’, attracting droves of tourists thanks to its near-perfect weather, beaches and many attractions. Highlights include Balboa Park, which boasts 17 museums; San Diego Zoo and its Safari Park; and SeaWorld. Visitors also enjoy going to Coronado Island, Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve or the many local craft breweries.
San Diego is a favorite of foodies as well, as its rich Spanish and Mexican heritage means that authentic Mexican cuisine is on every corner.
See what others have to say
Read about ASML employees working in San Diego.
Ryan Weimer, Engineering Project Leader
“Every day that I come to work, I really feel excitement; that we are on the verge of something huge.”
Brandon Verhoff, Senior Test Engineer
“My favorite part about ASML is the ability to discuss any issue with anyone in the company.”
News & stories
ASML’s microchip-making scanner may prove that ‘no job is too small,’ with the San Diego site who builds the powerful laser used to generate EUV light needed to produce microchips.
A parametric space
A scientist wants to understand, no matter how long it takes. But in an industrial R&D environment, time is luxury. Learn about the San Diego team’s decade journey.
Staff Systems Engineer Michael Purvis and Principal Scientist Alex Schafgans discuss their progress toward scaling EUV technology.