FAQ

About Gigaphoton

When was Gigaphoton founded?

August 1, 2000.

Where is the headquarters located?

400 Yokokurashinden, Oyama-shi, Tochigi-ken 323-8558, Japan.

Do you have any regional offices and overseas bases?

We have an office in Hiratsuka and a number of domestic and overseas service bases.
For details, see the Corporate Profile page.

What is your capitalization?

5 billion yen.

Who are the stockholders?

Komatsu Ltd.,holds a 100% stake in Gigaphoton Inc.

How many employees do you have?

467 (As of April 1, 2012).

Are you currently hiring?

We are hiring on an “as needed” basis.

What is the origin of the company name “Gigaphoton”?

We named our company “Gigaphoton” because we wish to be the No. 1 company who manufactures the light sources (photon) required for the Gigabit era.

Does your company logo have any special meaning?

The initial character “G” represents “Growth.”

What is the background of the company’s founding?

With competition in the market of the excimer laser for lithography tools becoming intense, Komatsu and Ushio decided to integrate their excimer laser businesses. They founded Gigaphoton as a joint venture, seeking to integrate Japanese excimer laser technologies and reinforce their product lineup and customer support capability.

What is your major business?

Gigaphoton develops, manufactures, sells, and services excimer laser light sources used for semiconductor lithography tools.

What are the core technologies of Gigaphoton?

Gigaphoton focuses on the following laser technologies that achieve the energy stability and narrow spectral bandwidth required for excimer lasers used as lithography tool light sources:

Technology to achieve energy stability
Enabling pulse emission of KrF/ArF excimer lasers at a high repetition rate (of kilohertz order) and achieving highly stabilized energy characteristics over a long period of time requires charging and discharging technologies that can achieve a stabilized pulse discharge in the laser chamber. We at Gigaphoton continue to work on worldwide research and development of pulse power supply technology that allows a high repetition rate (of kilohertz order) and discharge technology that ensures long-life and stable pulse discharge.

Line-narrowing technology
Because an excimer laser has a wide spectral bandwidth, its basic imaging performance is not suited to use for lithography tools. Development of a line-narrowing technology using grating, however, has enabled emission of DUV at an extremely narrow band of sub-pm while maintaining high luminous intensity, thereby achieving a performance that is optimal for lithography tool optics. Gigaphoton’s line-narrowing technology maintains an extremely high level of absolute performance and provides long-term stability.

As described above, we believe that our core technologies are those for manufacturing high-quality laser. Gigaphoton has earned a top reputation among users for manufacturing high-quality excimer lasers. We will continue to promote activities for enhancing the quality of R&D, manufacturing, and support.

Who are the target customers for your products?

Semiconductor lithography tool manufacturers and semiconductor device manufacturers.

What are your latest business performance results (sales record)?

Please contact our Sales Division at the following phone numbers
or via Contact US:
Japan: 0285-28-8415
Overseas: +81-285-28-8415

What is the market share of your products?

We have a high market share of 50% in Asia, and have gained a market share of almost 40% in the US and Europe.

What is your domestic market and overseas market sales ratio?

Our sales ratio in the overseas market versus that in domestic markets was 7:3 in fiscal 2011.

How can we request sales materials or additional information?

Please use the “Contact Us” form.

Do you publish a newsletter or mail magazine?

We started Beam-to-the-Future・Mail Service on November 1, 2007. If you register your mail address from the Mail Service page under "About Us" we will send you information about any future update of the Gigaphoton site.

About Products

What products does Gigaphoton sell?

Excimer laser light sources (main units and spare parts) for semiconductor lithography tools.

What is an excimer laser?

An excimer laser is a kind of gas laser excited by mainly using pulse discharge via a mixture of rare gases and halogen gas as a medium. Krypton Fluoride (KrF) and Argon Fluoride (ArF) excimer laser light sources allow emission of high-intensity deep UV (DUV) light at the wavelengths of 248 nm and 193 nm, respectively. They are used as light sources for leading-edge lithography tools that require high resolution.
Because an excimer laser has a wide spectral bandwidth, its imaging performance previously was not good when used for lithography tools. But development of a line-narrowing technology using grating has enabled emission of DUV at an extremely narrow band of sub-pm while maintaining high luminous intensity, thereby achieving a performance that is optimum for lithography tool optics.
(For your reference) For more information on the technologies of Gigaphoton, see our Technology page.

What is Injection-Locking Technology?

Injection-locking technology uses a Master Oscillator to emit a low-output laser beam with an extremely narrow spectral bandwidth and inject this laser beam into the Power Oscillator, which amplifies it to obtain a high-output laser beam with an extremely narrow spectral bandwidth.

What is your major market, and who are the main users of your products?

Gigaphoton’s major market is the semiconductor equipment market (lithography tool segment). We supply excimer laser units to every major lithography tool manufacturer on OEM basis. Lithography tools incorporating these excimer laser units are then introduced to semiconductor device manufacturers. For this reason, we consider both lithography tool manufacturers and semiconductor manufacturers to be our important customers.

What kind of manufacturing process are your products used for?

The lithography process in semiconductor manufacturing.

Where do you conduct research and development of your products?

We conduct development of our products at the headquarters (Oyama office), and development of future technologies (EUV light sources) at the Hiratsuka office.

What does the initial “G” of each product name mean?

It signifies a product required for the gigabit era.

When was the first “G” product series released?

Gigaphoton introduced model G20A in 2001, but the origin of the “G” series goes back to the G6 series introduced in 1993 by Komatsu Ltd.

What is the latest G series model?

Model G41K-1H (KrF, 4 kHz) and the GT64A (ArF, 6 kHz).

How much do the G series models sell for?

Their prices are not disclosed publicly.

Who are your main competitors?

Cymer Inc. (USA)

What products compete with your G product series?

Cymer’s ELS series, XLA series and XLR series.

What are the advantages of Gigaphoton’s products?

An excimer laser unit uses very expensive replacement parts (modules); the cost of these parts is a major portion of the running cost of the entire lithography tool. Gigaphoton’s replacement parts have longer life, thus prolonging the replacement interval and making a great contribution to reduction of the running cost for users.
Incomparable stability of “E95”, which is the current focus of attention in the lithography field because it greatly influences the isolated line in fine circuit patterns and the CD accuracy in dense circuit patterns.
High reliability is required for excimer laser because it is connected and used with a lithography tool that is the key to semiconductor manufacturing. By fusing the quality into the products to achieve high availability, Gigaphoton’s lasers have made a great contribution to significant reduction of the down time of customers’ production lines.
How can we purchase your products?
At present, we do not sell our products directly to general customers; we supply them to lithography tool manufacturers on an OEM basis.

Please describe the laser running cost

For the laser running cost, we at Gigaphoton use either of two type of agreement: the pulse agreement to charge the user based on the number of pulses used or the prorate agreement that guarantees the cost of operation (CoO) calculated based on the number of expected life pulses.
Under this agreement, Gigaphoton charges the user for the number of pulses used; the user allows stable management of the cost of operation by periodically paying the amount based on the number of pulses used.
For the cost of a module or part that was used for the number of pulses greater than the number of warranty life pulses but fewer than the number of expected life pulses, we offer the user a discount proportional to the number of expected life pulses minus the actual number of pulses reached at replacement. As the result, the CoO per pulse is guaranteed for the user.
For details of the running cost, contact the Sales Division of Gigaphoton
at +81-285-28-8420.

Do you lease your products?

No, we do not.

Can we trade in a used unit at the time of purchasing the new one?

To inquire about trade-in of a used unit, please contact the manufacturer of the lithography tool on which our laser unit is mounted.

Do you offer trade-in campaign for laser units of other manufacturers?

No, not at this time.

Can you give us a quote on your products?

For the quotation request or other specific inquiry, please contact the Sales Division of Gigaphoton at +81-285-28-8420 or via Contact Us.

Can you provide us with detailed information about your products for evaluation?

To request product materials, please contact the Sales Division of Gigaphoton at +81-285-28-8420 or via Contact Us.

Can we see a demonstration of your products?

To request a demonstration of our products, please contact the Sales Division of Gigaphoton at +81-285-28-8420 or via Contact Us.

Please explain about your product “REDeeM.”

“REDeeM (Remote Equipment Data Management)” is a system for remotely monitoring excimer laser units using the Internet. This tool allows inexpensive (low introduction and operating costs), easy (user-friendly), and safe (ensured security) sharing of information on the laser running status within each customer site, thus helping us to better support laser maintenance management.
Conventionally, semiconductor device manufacturers use a closed management system that stores information (such as equipment data) within their site. REDeeM is a unique open monitoring system that manages that information through an off-site server (via the Internet).

What kind of benefits does the user obtain from the introduction of REDeeM?

For users who have introduced REDeeM, service response times have been dramatically enhanced because information can be shared in real time by the semiconductor manufacturer, lithography tool manufacturer, and field service and development engineers at Gigaphoton. In addition, for users who have a number of units installed, REDeeM reduces the equipment management burden upon their engineers by enabling easy and optimum management of the operation of multiple laser units, thus contributing to a substantial reduction of cost.

What is the operating configuration of REDeeM?

REDeeM consists of three units: a server unit that has central control over equipment data and applications, a laser unit that delivers equipment data to the server, and a client unit that monitors the equipment status.
Each of these three units is connected via the Internet; use of the HTTPS communication protocol allows encryption of the communication paths to ensure the security of the data.

How can we obtain your product catalogs?

Select “Download” on the Products page (Products catalogs are currently available in Japanese only.)
For additional details about our products, contact our Sales Division at +81-285-28-8420, or use “Contact Us” form.

Customer Support

Please describe your support system for send-in, installation, start-up, preventive maintenance, and repair of your products.

Our products will be sent in and installed by our customers. (An installation manual will be provided.)
Start-up of our products at a customer site is included in the start-up support for lithography tools provided by the lithography manufacturer. (However, our field service engineers will perform start-up of our products.)
Our field service engineers will handle preventive maintenance and repair of our products.?
Do you provide a dedicated customer support contact?
We have a number of service bases worldwide. For customer support, contact the customer support base nearest your location (see the list on the Corporate Profile page).

Do you provide around-the-clock customer support?

No, we provide customer support only from 9:00 am through 5:00 pm on weekdays (closed on Saturday, Sunday, holidays, and year-end/new year holidays). However, we are ready to provide special support for a specific customer upon request. For support details, please contact the Sales Division of Gigaphoton at +81-285-28-8420.

Do you offer user training?

Yes, we provide operator training, supervisor training, etc.

What is difference between on-site and off-site training?

Basically, the training site is different.
On-site training is provided at the customer site using the laser unit installed on the production line of the customer.
Off-site training is provided at Gigaphoton’s Oyama training center through lectures in its training room and use of a simulator and laser unit.

What product manuals do you provide?

An operation manual is provided for users who introduce a laser unit.
A training manual CD is provided for users who attend the training.

Can you support a user who transfers its production facility overseas?

Yes. Prior to the transfer of production facilities to an overseas location, please contact the lithography tool manufacturer and the Sales Division of Gigaphoton at +81-285-28-8420.