Gigaphoton investor sells stake in LPP technology

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Gigaphoton Inc (GPI) has announced that one of its two corporate investors, Komatsu Ltd, will buy out the shares of the second investor, Ushio Inc. The company was founded in 2000 as a 50:50 joint venture between these two companies in order to develop and commercialise a source of extreme ultraviolet light (EUV) for applications in nanolithography.

Gigaphoton's laser-produced plasma (LPP) approach to EUV generation will be in competition with EUV sources based on discharge-produced plasma (DPP) technology. Gigaphoton's rival DPP developer Xtreme Technologies, based in Germany, is wholly-owned by Ushio, and so in divesting from Gigaphoton, Ushio seems to have signalled its preference for DPP technology over LPP.

'GPI's EUV program has always been closely aligned with Komatsu for both scientists and other resources; this partnership will continue and will grow,' commented Phil Alibrandi, director of sales and account management at Gigaphoton. 'I see this as a good way to move forward with the development and delivery of our HVM-designed EUV source to a scanner manufacturer, as per agreement.'

The deal is expected to be completed by mid-May 2011.

For an in-depth discussion of these two rival companies and the technologies they are developing, see Nadya Anscombe's feature 'Extreme competition' in the December 2010/January 2011 edition of Electro Optics.