A photomask is a solid plate with transparencies or holes that let light to pass from one side to the other in a predefined pattern. Exposure systems usually project an image on the wafer by using a photomask. The function of the photomask is to block the light in some specific areas. Maskless lithography procedures direct a precise beam of light directly onto the surface of the wafer without using a mask. However, it is seldom used for commercial processes. Exposure systems falls under the semiconductor production equipment. The capability to draw a flawless image of a small pattern onto the surface wafer is maintained by the wavelength of the light, and the capacity of the lens system to follow diffraction commands from the mask. Advanced tools use deep ultraviolet light from lasers with wavelengths between 193 and 248 nm.
Sustainable growth in the global semiconductor market is acting as a key driver for the growth of the overall exposure systems market. The upsurge in sales of consumer electronic devices and microelectronics is expected to fuel the global market. As the demand for semiconductor devices are increasing, so is the need for better speed and advanced integration methods. To be relevant in the market, the vendors operating in the semiconductor production equipment market are speeding up their development efforts. In lithography, the advancement of the future exposure systems is in progress. Suggestions are also being made for processes that utilizes ArF (Argon fluoride) exposure systems to develop various semiconductor materials to support further miniaturization. In this era of miniaturization and fast and efficient delivery, the global exposure systems will play a pivotal role in attaining the same, thereby offering a significant growth opportunity for the market.
Based on type, the global exposure systems market can be classified into contact system, proximity system, projection system, and other systems. In this type of printer, a photomask is placed in shortest contact (direct contact) with the surface on which it is applied on, or the wafer. A proximity exposure system leaves a small gap amid the wafer and photomask. In both the above mentioned procedures, the mask guards the wafer, and concurrently patterns every die. However, contact systems sometimes cause damage to the wafer and the mask. The proximity exposure systems segment is likely to grow at a significant rate over the forecast period in the global exposure systems market due to their ease of use and low damage risks. VLSI or Very Large Scale Integration process uses projection exposure systems. Contrasting to proximity or contact masks, that cover the whole wafer, projection masks or reticles show one dye or dies. The mask is exposed to the projection exposure systems multiple times after which the complete pattern is formed on the wafer. This segment held a significant market share in the global exposure systems market.
By geography, the global exposure systems market can be segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East and Africa. Asia Pacific held the leading share of the market followed by North America. Countries such as China and Japan manufacture and sell exposure systems on a large scale. They are considered the hub of electronics parts manufacturing. Low cost and advancement in technology are the main reasons for growth in this region. North America followed Asia Pacific in terms of share in the global exposure systems market. Presence of large corporations and affinity of consumers to adopt newer technology is likely to fuel the market in this region.
Some of the major players operating in the global exposure system market are Tokyo Electron, Screen Holding Company Ltd., Hitachi, Ltd., the M & R companies, Bacher Systems GmbH, EVG, Shanghai McLantis Machinery Co., Ltd., Enter Machinery Co., Ltd., and Simco Groups among others.
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