Why is the lithography market for Advanced Packaging and MEMS so attractive?

Lithography is often seen as almost the monopoly of ASML, with $10Ms unit price and incredible optics, mechanics and precision stage in order to reach sub 20nm precision. This is the “More Moore” world.
But in the “More than Moore” world, the Holy Grail isn’t downscaling any more – it’s adding functionality. 

Of course, in these “More than Moore” markets, retrofit equipment does represent a big slice of the pie. Nevertheless business opportunities for brand new equipment are important, considering the very fragmented and therefore highly customer specific orientation of these equipment markets. We estimate the projection systems market for Advanced Packaging, MEMS and LEDs to represent more than US$150M in 2014 in the new report “Photolithography Equipment and Materials for Advanced Packaging, MEMS and LED Applications” from Yole Développement.

Advanced Packaging has clearly the strongest growth, with an estimated equipment installation base of 60 systems in 2014 and a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15% through 2020. In the meanwhile, MEMS photolithography equipment looks set for a 9% CAGR and LEDs 3%. So the market is booming. The Advanced Packaging market is very interesting and is growing dynamically as it includes many different players along the supply chain. It encompasses outsourced assembly at test firms (OSATs), integrated manufacturers (IDMs), MEMS foundries and mid-stage foundries. In comparison, even if the MEMS and Sensor industry is growing at a fast pace, components are also experiencing die size reduction due to strong cost pressure in the consumer market. Consequently wafer shipments are not following the same trend as unit shipments. Lastly, LED equipment growth is back to a normal rhythm, after big investments made in recent years.

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On the technology side, the mix for projection systems in the Advanced Packaging, MEMS and LEDs markets is quite important. Mask aligners and projection steppers offers a wide resolution range while disruptive technologies like laser direct imaging (LDI), laser ablation, and nano-imprint lithography could re-shuffle the photolithography pack by offering “good enough” technology specifications at lower prices. This will of course depend on the final application as roadmaps differ in terms of resolution needs. The MEMS sector is evolving towards greater stepper needs, as layer to layer alignment is becoming very accurate – down to 0.1 µm – and any misalignment of mechanical features will lower performances, for example in gyros and micro mirrors (see the new MEMS antenna tuner from Cavendish Kinetics, which is a clear example of that trend: www…..). However this technological evolution is happening slowly as MEMS do not follow Moore’s law, with its constant two-year cycles.

On the other side, advanced Packaging has very complex technical specifications. Warpage handling as well as heterogeneous materials represent big challenges to photolithography. Due to aggressive resolution targets in Advanced Packaging, performance must be improved. The current minimum resolution required is below 5 µm for some advanced packaging platforms, like 3D integrated circuits, 2.5D interposers, and wafer level chip scale packaging (WLCSP). A lot of effort is being made to reduce overlay issues due to shifting dies and obtain vertical sidewalls for flip-chip and WLCSP. Although steppers are already well established in the packaging field, new disruptive lithography technologies are also emerging and could contribute to market growth from 2015-2016. Huge business opportunities in the Advanced Packaging market are therefore driving photolithography equipment demand. Given the high growth rate of this market, there is no doubt that already established photolithography players and new entrants will be attracted.

On the side of the equipment providers, there are two clear leaders at the moment, SUSS MicroTec in the MEMS and Sensors industry, and Ultratech in the Advanced Packaging industry. They’re closely followed by the outsiders, EVG, Rudolph and USHIO (and a lot of companies willing to enter these fields, with different technology platform). The market entry barrier is much lower in the “More than Moore” market compared to “More Moore”. Equipment in the Advanced Packaging, MEMS and LEDs industries is less complex but customer adaptation needs are higher, which leads to a much broader photolithography landscape.

The status of the competition trends as well as the market and technology roadmap are carefully analyzed and presented in the new YOLE report, as well as a competitive landscape and competitive analysis of the major equipment and materials suppliers involved in Advanced Packaging, MEMS and LED applications. Finally, a section is also dedicated to disruptive technologies such as LDI, laser ablation and Nano imprint lithography, which could reshape the lithography landscape in the future. Possible reshaping scenarios are described, including acquisitions, mergers, and joint ventures, along with their anticipated impact on the global photolithography market.

So if you want to know more on what is happening in the “More than Moore” lithography fields, YOLE is your source of information and analysis… Learn more here

Source: www.yole.fr

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