Semiconductor Photomask Market Forecast: $3.2 billion in 2012

Semiconductor Photomask Market Forecast: $3.2 billion in 2012

By Lara Chamness, senior market analyst, SEMI Industry Research and Statistics

The worldwide semiconductor photomask market was $3.0 billion in 2010 and is forecasted to reach $3.2 billion in 2012. After contracting for two consecutive years in 2008 and 2009, the semiconductor photomask market grew 10 percent in 2010. The mask market is expected to grow 7 percent and 2 percent over the next two years. Key drivers in this market continue to be advanced technology feature sizes (less than 65 nm) and increase manufacturing in Asia-Pacific. Captive photomask shops accounted for 40 percent of the total mask market in 2010, compared to 30 percent in 2006.

Figure 1: 2010 Regional Photomask Market

2010 Regional Photomask Market

Source: Photomask Characterization Summary Report – March 2011

Traditional optical lithography continues to push out next generation lithography schemes, including extreme ultraviolet (EUV), maskless lithography, and nano-imprint. Immersion lithography is the technology of choice for 45-nm processing. Source mask optimization is being used to extend single-exposure processes for sub 45-nm processing, while double patterning is being deployed in other instances as well.

To extend optical lithography to 22-nm feature sizes device manufacturers are utilizing computational lithography, in addition to double-patterning and source mask optimization. EUV has been pushed out to at least 16-nm; when and if EUV is adopted will be determined by cost and developing a new supply chain for this revolutionary technology. However, progress has been made in key areas such inspection, source power, masks and resists. While there has been much incremental progress in the EUV field, there is increasing discussion to use EUV as a complement with 193-nm immersion to shrink devices further.

This raises perhaps the most daunting challenge faced by merchant photomask suppliers: economic uncertainty outweighing technical issues. As lines shrink, more advanced photomask tools and materials will be required, but due to limited customers migrating to smaller geometries and the increasing reliance on captive shops, the merchant photomask industry must balance a shrinking market with escalating development and capital costs.

A recently SEMI published report, Photomask Characterization Summary, provides details on the 2010 Photomask Market for seven regions of world including North America, Japan, Europe, Taiwan, Korea, China, and Rest of World. The report also includes data for each of these regions from 2005 to 2012.

To find out additional information on this new report, please click here for additional information including a list of tables and figures.

SEMI Global Update
April 5, 2011