Intel shared a lot during its Innovation 2023 conference, including the 14th Gen Meteor Lake mobility family and the future EUV node availability. The update on the high-NA EUV machines was easy to miss, however. Team Blue plans to release the 20A process sometime early to mid-2024, followed by the volume production of 18A chips in the latter half of the same year.
Intel now plans to use the 18A process as part of the development and validation work of the new High-NA machines. The High Numerical Aperture (High-NA) machines are the next generation of EUV photolithography machines. These massive scanners incorporate 0.55 numerical aperture optics, substantially larger than the 0.33 NA optics used in the first generation of EUV machines.
Essentially, the High Numerical Aperture (High-NA) machines are going to be instrumental in the production of advanced process nodes below 2nm (20A as per Intel nomenclature). For Intel, the first High Numerical Aperture machines will be used starting with the 18A (1.8nm) process node).
Luckily for Intel, the roadmap has been pulled closer. The progress on the 18A (1.8nm) node indicates that mass production is set to begin as soon as the second half of 2024 (from 2025). The chipmaker has clarified that the High-NA machines are no longer a part of its production plans for 18A. Team Blue will use the High-NA scanners for future production, simply named “Intel Next” right now.