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Cymer, LLC.
IndustrySemiconductor Equipment
Founded1986 (1986)
San Diego, California
Key people
Harry Borggreve ( Executive Vice President ASML/ Cymer Technologies

Jim Koonmen (CEO of Cymer Light Source)

Robert P. Akins, Ph.D. (Co-Founder/Chief Technology Strategist of ASML/SVP of Cymer Technologies)(retired)
Richard L. Sandstrom, Ph.D. (Co-Founder/SVP/Chief Technology Advisor)(retired)
ProductsDUV Light Sources, EUV Light Sources, and data/service products for the semiconductor industry
Number of employees
1300+ (November 2015)

Cymer, LLC., an ASML Holding company, is an American company headquartered in San Diego, California. Cymer is the largest supplier of deep ultraviolet (DUV) light sources used by chipmakers to pattern advanced semiconductor chips or integrated circuits.

Cymer is currently developing next-generation laser-produced plasma extreme ultraviolet (EUV) light sources.

As of October 2012, it was announced that Cymer would be acquired by Dutch semiconductor equipment manufacturer ASML. The acquisition closed in May 2013.

Cymer San Diego Headquarters Building 6
Cymer San Diego Headquarters Building 4

Corporate History[edit]

Cymer was founded in 1986 by Dr. Robert Akins and Dr. Richard Sandstrom, who met in the mid-1970s in a lab class at the University of California, San Diego. In 1986, the personal computer market opened a door for Akins and Sandstrom to apply their unique laser knowledge for the purpose of semiconductor photolithography.

In 1988, Cymer shipped its first light source for advanced research and development applications to support the development of semiconductor lithography. In 1990, a second-generation light source shipped, and the company quickly progressed, shipping a total of 78 light source systems between 1988 and 1994.

In the mid-1990s, Cymer had established its light sources as a necessary component in the development of advanced semiconductor products, and demand for its light sources began to increase. To meet this demand, Cymer issued its initial public offering on the NASDAQ in September 1996 under the symbol CYMI. The company's IPO helped provide the capital Cymer needed to grow manufacturing capacity and service infrastructure as needed to meet the industry's rapid expansion.

In the dot-com boom of 2000, Cymer sold an annual high of 494 new light source systems, and in 2002 the company shipped its 2000th light source. By the end of the decade, Cymer had shipped more than 3,300 KrF (248 nm) and ArF (193 nm) and ArF Immersion light sources world-wide.

In June 2009, Cymer shipped the world's first fully integrated LPP (laser produced plasma) EUV lithography light source to ASML Holding in Veldhoven, Netherlands, for integration into its EUV scanner.[1] This new type of light source produces a wavelength of 13.5 nm and will be used to pattern chips for at least the next decade.[2]

In July 2005, TCZ was formed as a joint venture between Cymer, Inc. and Carl Zeiss SMT AG to develop and manufacture a silicon crystallization process tool for use in the production of flat panel displays and OLED displays. The crystallization tool uses Cymer's light source technology. In January 2010, Cymer announced that it would acquire Carl Zeiss' ownership interest in the Cymer/Zeiss TCZ joint venture, making TCZ a wholly owned Cymer company. In October 2012, Cymer announced it was discontinuing its TCZ business.

In October 2012, Dutch semiconductor equipment manufacturer ASML announced that it would acquire Cymer, as part of their EUV equipment strategy. The acquisition closed in May 2013.

Products and Technology[edit]

DUV Products[edit]

Cymer's light sources, which comprise an installed base of more than 3,750 shipped systems, are based on KrF and ArF technology that deliver 248 nm and 193 nm light, respectively. Light at these wavelengths is produced when an electrical discharge is applied to a mixture of gases (Krypton and Fluorine (KrF) or Argon and Fluorine (ArF)). The resulting light is collected and delivered to a scanning exposure tool which is used to pattern silicon wafers. Cymer's DUV product line by technology includes:

Technology Wavelength Product Application
ArF Immersion 193 nm XLR 600ix Multiple patterning and immersion lithography, 32nm node and below
ArF Immersion 193 nm XLR 500i Immersion lithography, 45nm and 65nm node
ArF Dry 193 nm XLA 105 HP Dry lithography, 65 nm and 90nm node
KrF 248 nm ELS 7010x Dry lithography, 130 nm and 180 nm node
KrF 248 nm ELS 7010 Dry lithography, sub-100 nm node

Installed Base Products[edit]

Light sources installed at chipmaker fabs are maintained through Cymer's OnPulse support product offering. OnPulse optimizes light source availability and productivity for the chipmaker. New light source feature enhancements are made available through OnPulse and include support from Cymer's field support organization and IT infrastructure.

Cymer offers two data collection, reporting and analysis products to enable tighter process control and improved wafer quality. OnPulse Plus provides real-time light source parameter monitoring (i.e., energy, wavelength, bandwidth) and lot-level event correlation to avoid excursions and prevent diminished yield. SmartPulse delivers wafer-level light source parameter monitoring and on-board beam metrology to optimize the lithography process. OnPulse Plus is available for all XL-series and ELS 7000 and 6000 series. SmartPulse is available for all XL-series light sources.

LPP EUV Products[edit]

Cymer is developing a new generation of light source to enable advanced lithography beyond the capability of DUV light sources. LPP EUV light sources produce 13.5 nm ultraviolet light by targeting small droplets of molten tin with a pulsed, high-powered CO2 laser.[3][4] The resulting plasma produces the 13.5 nm light which is collected and delivered to a scanner that is used to image circuit patterns on silicon wafers. EUV light sources will enable photolithography below the 22 nm node and support Moore's Law.

Cymer in the Community[edit]

Cymer supports a number of philanthropic organizations and events in San Diego County in five areas.

Cymer volunteers at a civic event at the San Diego Food Bank

Education - Co-founders Robert Akins and Richard Sandstrom received their Ph.D.s from the University of California, San Diego prior to starting Cymer in 1986. Since then Cymer has supported the University and multiple non-profit organizations aimed at promoting excellence in education and in recognition of student scholars from all levels of education.

Health - Through corporate giving and the volunteerism of employees, Cymer supports health foundations that strive to find cures for life-altering diseases.

Culture - Cymer seeks out and supports organizations that foster creativity in the arts and that provide opportunities for the local community to experience multiple forms of creative expression.

Environment - Cymer supports initiatives aimed at responsible disposal of electronic waste and the promotion of alternative approaches that reduce the environmental impact of technology innovation.

Civic - Cymer supports civic initiatives that help provide a safety net for those less fortunate.[5][6]


  1. ^ Shenkenberg, David, Photonics Spectra, October 2009, Taking Semiconductor Manufacturing to the Extreme (online:
  2. ^ Intel Achieves Major Milestones in EUV Lithography Program (online:
  3. ^ Wagner, Christian and Harned, Noreen, Nature Photonics, January 2010, Vol. 4, No. 1, Lithography Gets Extreme, p. 24 – 26 (online:
  4. ^ Brandt, David and Farrar,Nigel, Solid State Technology, September 2009, High-power EUV lithography light sources, p. 10 (online:[permanent dead link])
  5. ^ Cymer Computer Clubhouse Opens at Mission Valley YMCA(online: Archived 2011-08-10 at the Wayback Machine)
  6. ^ Welcome to the Intel Computer Clubhouse Network (online: Archived 2011-05-11 at the Wayback Machine)

External links[edit]