Technology & market trends in lithography for More than Moore applications

An article written by Jérôme Azemar, Project Development Director at Yole Développement (Yole) for VDMA – Several economic megatrends like penetration of 5G wireless technologies, electric vehicles, autonomous cars, AR/VR and advanced mobile devices demand new functionalities, more miniaturization and better integration of semiconductor components. These needs cannot be entirely addressed by traditional “More than Moore” type of components, focusing only on scaling down and incurring higher and higher cost. Numerous devices (CIS, MEMS, LEDs, power devices, and many more) are gaining more and more importance and their specifications are very different from “mainstream” semiconductors concentrated on the most advanced nodes. Advanced packaging, addressing the integration of the different components, is also becoming of more importance and has very complex manufacturing requirements.  

Source: Yole Développement, 2018

This work studies these “More than Moore” device specificities and their impact on the lithography market, addressing them. Indeed, requirements by type of device are very different, and for many characteristics in lithography can be very far from what is needed for advanced nodes, be it for resolution, overlay, DOF, field size, wafer bow or alignment strategies. For instance, resolution required for advanced packaging is usually in the single digit micron range, which is far from mainstream front-end achievements dealing with nanometer scale… but DOF required is in a range of 10 µm, which is needed to handle thicker resists as well as high wafer topography, something that mainstream front-end scanners cannot achieve. In packaging, warpage handling as well as heterogeneous materials can also represent big challenges for photolithography. And it becomes even more complex if we look at packaging platforms case by case: Fan-out packaging, for instance, has stringent requirements for overlay to compensate for possible die shifts, while Flip-Chip BGAs, also have rigid specs in that area to guarantee vertical side walls.

Similarly, MEMS applications have specific needs, but with different drivers and targets which are evolving, and which directly impact the lithography tool market. Established MEMS and sensor layers have more relaxed specifications, mask aligner tools are ‘good enough’ and are mostly adopted to provide sufficient performance at lower cost. However, the road to megatrend applications are driving devices to meet more stringent requirements such as sub-1µm, or devices requiring very accurate layer-to-layer alignment below 1µm. This will pave the way toward higher adoption of stepper tools over the next few years. And this includes high DOF, which is required for MEMS applications where high resist thickness is needed to enable DRIE process steps.  

Other devices, such as LED devices, can have specific needs for specific layers. For these devices, lithography layers are typically in a range of 3µm-4µm and above except for the PSS. This layer is the most critical of LED lithography layers as it needs finer features and higher resolution in a range of 1µm, and therefore it will require stepper tools. This presentation will provide analysis of the different specs and trends and their evolutions by “More than Moore” device.

Source: Yole Développement, 2018

Different specs often mean different equipment and also mean different business. While the competitive landscape in the mainstream front-end area is limited to few players (ASML, Nikon, …) and scanner solutions, More than Moore devices have more variety with projection systems, steppers, laser direct imaging and laser ablation systems, provided by players specialized in these areas, such as Ultratech or SUSS MicroTec. And this market is growing. Supported by the increasing demand for advanced features, the growth of a new lithography equipment market for More than Moore devices is at almost 10% CAGR. In this work we provide insights on the current and emerging lithography methods for “More than Moore” devices, as well as market forecasts and competitive landscape of the major equipment suppliers addressing these fields.


Under the annual agreement signed between VDMA and Yole Développement (Yole), VDMA’s members get an access to the whole collection of reports performed by the market research and strategy consulting company. If you are VDMA’s member, please contact Marine Pelissier for more information.