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San Diego, California
The epicenter for the development and manufacturing of DUV and EUV light sources for lithography systems
San Diego at a glance
In San Diego, ASML focuses on the R&D and manufacturing of deep ultraviolet (DUV) and extreme ultraviolet (EUV) light sources for lithography systems, which are used to make microchips.
Year acquired Cymer
Average annual volunteer hours
Our technology in San Diego
We develop light sources for lithography machines, which chipmakers use to project patterns and ‘print’ them onto a silicon wafer. The smaller the wavelength of light produced, the smaller the features that can be printed, enabling faster, more energy-efficient chips.
EUV light source technology
The team at ASML San Diego designs, develops and qualifies the EUV (extreme ultraviolet) laser-produced plasma light source, and manufactures a critical system component called the droplet generator. The droplet generator is the heartbeat of the light source, delivering a steady stream of 50,000 liquid tin droplets per second, which fly at more than 241 km 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-powered CO2 laser pulses, generating a plasma that emits EUV light. A highly polished, multilayered mirror collects and reflects the 13.5-nanometer EUV light to a precise exit point of the vessel 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 light generation. ASML engineers in San Diego 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 the surface of the wafer is evenly exposed with EUV light.
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
ASML San Diego develops, markets, sells and services DUV light sources from the independently operated business, Cymer. Cymer’s product portofolio includes excimer lasers using argon flouride (ArF) or krypton fluoride (KrF) gases to generate light in the deep-ultraviolet spectrum. These lasers generate the light that photolithography scanners use to image patterns on silicon wafers. Cymer research and development has been enabling semiconductor manufacturing since the introduction of the first KrF light source in 1988. Since then, Cymer has introduced significant advances in product performance through Solid State Power technology, 193 nanometer lithography and dual chamber architecture, among many others.
Cymer technology has been adopted worldwide as the source for semiconductor manufacturing and is the workhorse of every modern fab. Through that impact, Cymer light sources directly enable the electronics that have transformed the world. Innovation at Cymer continues as the need for improved electronics continuing to push DUV technology forward. Find out more about Cymer light source technology and products.
EUV light source engineers win Leibinger international award
ASML is recognized for its decades of research and development efforts to industrialize extreme ultraviolet lithography.
Working and living 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.