Why it matters: TSMC continues to outpace the rest of the industry in leading edge semiconductor manufacturing, as it continues to successfully adopt the once arcane EUV lithography process. As such, its partnership with ASML (the only EUV machine provider) will only continue to grow.
TSMC recently held its annual Technology Symposium where it divulged a slew of information about the company, especially as it pertains to the future of its chip manufacturing business. Such information included new details on TSMC's advanced process nodes -- like N5, N4, N3, and N12e -- that will be powering numerous devices over the next few years.
However, TSMC also revealed where it stands in relation to cutting edge manufacturing prowess. As reported by Dr. Ian Cutress (via AnandTech), TSMC now accounts for ~50 percent of the industry's EUV (Extreme Ultraviolet) equipment install base. Furthermore, TSMC also lays claim to ~60 percent of the industry's cumulative EUV wafer production.
TSMC claims to have ~50% of all ASML's EUV machines to date. By my reckoning, ASML has shipped 71, so TSMC has about 35. Any guesses who has the others? GF had two, but sold them.https://t.co/I4WYkp9ayK pic.twitter.com/92ZLxJMX9N— ??. ??? ??????? (@IanCutress) August 27, 2020
TSMC's N7+ process is the company's first node to make use of EUV lithography, and the the company's N5 process will lean even more into the EUV technology. Additionally, anything beyond 5nm will extensively rely on EUV lithography. Currently, In addition to TSMC's N7+ and N5, Samsung has its 7LPP process that is supposed to leverage EUVL.
ASML is the only company that manufactures and sells EUV lithography equipment, and per Cutress' estimation, TSMC has purchased 30-35 machines from ASML. That's based on the estimate that ASML has sold around 70 machines this year, and could sell as many as 90 by the end of 2020.
TSMC recently celebrated shipping over one billion defect-free 7nm chips.
Image credit: Ascannio