OYAMA, Japan--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Gigaphoton, Inc., a leading manufacturer of lithography light sources has announced the launch of a “Neon Gas Rescue Program” --a comprehensive package consisting of three programs that include: the rapid qualification of new gas vendors; a limited-time, free-of-charge(*1) implementation of Gigaphoton’s eTGM technology for reducing neon gas usage; and the accelerated introduction of “hTGM--the company’s newest gas recycling technology. The “Neon Gas Rescue Program” was developed by Gigaphoton to provide customers with immediate assistance in addressing the growing challenges in supply and cost of neon gas, critical to sustaining a stable high-volume manufacturing environment.
Neon is used as a buffer gas for Argon (Ar) and Krypton (Kr) gases used in lasers for semiconductor manufacturing. While the Ukraine is the main producer of neon gas today, due to the country's ongoing crisis, supply reduction has become an issue and is causing increasing concern. This concern is not only based on price increases, but has escalated to the point of supply shortages in 2015(*2). This poses a critical situation for the semiconductor industry, which represents the leading consumer of neon gas in the world.
To combat this crisis, Gigaphoton has already announced in November of 2011, a limited, free-of-charge offer of its eTGM technology for all new and existing GT series ArF immersion lasers. The “Neon Gas Rescue Program” expands this offer to a more comprehensive package that includes the following:
- A program for rapid qualification of new gas suppliers requested by customers. Previously, testing and qualification of a new gas supplier required anywhere from six to twelve months, but this new program will enable customers to begin using new gas suppliers in as fast as one month.
- A limited, free-of-charge(*1) offer of Gigaphoton’s eTGM technology will also be extended to the G41K series KrF lasers and GT40A series ArF lasers. This extended offer will commence in November 2015. By introducing eTGM, customers will be able to reduce the laser's neon usage by 25 percent on KrF and ArF lasers, and up to 50 percent on ArF immersion lasers.
- The accelerated introduction of Gigaphoton’s newest gas recycling technology, hTGM. This technology is applicable to all laser types. hTGM is expected to begin roll-out in 2016. By implementing the hTGM technology, customers will be able to recycle up to 50 percent of their gas consumption.
“Neon is an indispensable gas for semiconductor manufacturing, so we recognize that a supply crisis that continues under these circumstances is an extremely serious problem that threatens production continuity," said Hitoshi Tomaru, President and CEO of Gigaphoton. "Gigaphoton will do everything it can to support stable production for customers, with the three pillars of rapid qualification of gas vendors, significant reduction in gas usage, and early introduction of gas recycling technology.”
(*1) Free-of-charge period will continue until Gigaphoton determines the
neon gas supply issue has been resolved. The information contained in
this news release is based on what was available prior to the time of
the announcement and may change without notice.
(*2) According to a studies performed by Gigaphoton.