Intel, Fab 34 in Ireland begins to take shape: operational in 2023 to produce “Intel 4” chips

Last week Intel Ireland does a new step forward in the implementation of the new Fab 34 of Leixlip, an investment of $7 billion which will lead – as we have already seen in the past – to a doubling of the production capacity of the entire site. A group of specialized engineers installed in the new factorythe first massive chip making machinespecifically called “lithograph spare track“.

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This tool works in conjunction with an extreme ultraviolet (EUV) scanner and is used to coat silicon wafers with a thin layer before alignment and exposure to an EUV scanner. The processed wafer then returns to the lithography machine for a series of further steps including bakes, photographic development and rinsing.

The new machine arrived in Leixlip after crossing the Atlantic Ocean from an Intel factory in Oregon, and is just the first in a long series. Intel knows that in a Fab there are generally 1200 advanced toolsmany of which cost millions of dollars each.

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Construction work on Fab 34 began in 2019 for production scheduled for 2023. An investment that should create 1,600 new highly specialized permanent jobs, not to mention the more than 5,000 people needed for the construction phase.

From this factory will come out chips manufactured with the “Intel 4” processwhich we remember is the new trade name of 7 nanometers of American society. As always, we await further news on Intel’s investment plans in Europe: the company is keen to expand the ecosystem of its Fabs and associated sites, with Italy apparently well placed to host a factory linked to the packaging of advanced chips.

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Waiting for, the manufacturer of lithographic machines ASML did he know that Intel is the first to buy TWINSCAN EXE:5200, an EUV manufacturing machine with a throughput of over 200 wafers per hour. Feature of this toollarge numerical aperture of the objectives, equal to 0.55 NA (High-NA), able to allow higher resolution and therefore to create chips with increasingly smaller transistors and with high density. This tool will be used in particular to produce from 2025a period in which Intel plans to introduce new processes, the first of which will be called Intel 18A (about 1.8 nm – 18 angstroms).