Semiconductor Microlithography: Materials and Markets

Published - Jun 2004| Analyst - Andrew McWilliams| Code - SMC048A
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Report Highlights

  • The global market for lithography equipment and supplies for all applications was estimated at $30.4 billion in 2003 and is projected to increase sharply to $39 billion in 2004.
  • The market should reach $70 billion by 2009, at an AAGR (average annual growth rate) of 12.2%.
  • Postexposure processing equipment accounted for nearly 60% of the market in 2003. Exposure/write tools were the second largest segment.



Microlithography, i.e., a group of technologies used to create micron- or submicron- scale structures on silicon wafers and other materials, is a key enabling technology of the electronics industry, and has an important role to play in life sciences and other sectors. Optical lithography is an established technology with worldwide sales in the billions of dollars. But as the size of transistors and other microdevices shrinks toward the nanometer range, a race is on to develop nextgeneration microlithography technologies capable of resolving nanoscale features.

Emerging microlithography technologies include extreme ultraviolet, x-ray, electron beam, ion beam, nanoimprint and dip-pen lithography. It is unclear at present which one(s) ultimately will replace optical lithography in various applications.

Moreover, as these new technologies jockey for position to replace optical lithography, the latter has been showing surprising longevity. Technological innovations in optical lithography, such as improved lenses and photomasks, have enabled semiconductor manufacturers in particular, to continue using optical technologies to produce the latest generation of commercial chips, with a minimum feature size of 130 nm, and the end not yet in sight.

This BCC report identifies segments of the microlithography market with the greatest commercial potential in the near- to midterm, identifies and where possible, quantifies the key demand drivers, projects future demand for microlithography equipment and supplies, and evaluates the challenges that must be overcome for each segment to realize its potential.


The report contains:


  • Definition and discussion of the competing technologies, devices, supplies, consumables and software
  • Analysis of global microlithography market trends by technology, product and application segment through 2009
  • Analysis of relevant patents
  • Analysis of factors that will influence longterm development
  • Overview of major users
  • Discussion of the industry’s structure, including firm size, financial performance, ownership and market shares.



The findings and conclusions of this report are based on information gathered from industry sources, including manufacturers and users of microlithography equipment. Interview data were combined with information gathered through an extensive review of secondary sources, such as trade publications, trade associations, company literature, and online databases to produce the projections contained in this report.

The base year for analysis and projection is 2002. With 2002 as a baseline, market projections were developed for 2003 to 2008. These projections are based on a combination of a consensus among the primary contacts combined with our understanding of the key market drivers and their impact from a historical and analytical perspective. The analytical methodologies used to generate the market estimates are described in detail in the section on Detailed Market Projections. All dollar projections presented in this report are in 2002 constant dollars.


Andrew McWilliams, the author of this report, is a partner in the Boston-based international technology and marketing consulting firm, 43rd Parallel, LLC. He is also the author of numerous other Communications Co. studies, including several studies of emerging technologies such as the following:


  • C-140N Trends in the Noninvasive and Minimally Invasive Medical Device Market
  • B-182 Medical Robotics and Computer Assisted Surgery Market
  • GB-285 Emerging RF Technologies
  • GB-290 Nanotechnology: A Realistic Market Evaluation



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