OYAMA, JAPAN, July 26, 2006 Gigaphoton Inc., a major lithography light source manufacturer for the global semiconductor industry, today announced that it has signed a contract with ASML to provide seamless Customer Support for US chipmakers. Gigaphoton provides light source lasers, which are a critical subsystem used within the lithography tools manufactured by ASML.

Leading edge semiconductor fabs are becoming expensive to build, and scanner throughput is tremendously high. All of these elements drastically increase the value of opportunity loss for chip makers due to maintenance events. This means the importance to minimize downtime has become significantly high.

In its early introduction period in late 90’s, lasers were not stable enough and far too complicated to be maintained by any party other than laser manufacturer itself. Now days lasers are extremely reliable (typically >99% availability), and due in part to its modular design, can be more easily maintained. However, under current support schemes which started back during the last decade, infrastructures are doubled whereby laser support is in addition to scanner support and laser support response times are typically longer than scanner support response times. As a result, support overhead cost is not optimized and yet with even longer reaction time.

"Integrated support of scanners and lasers increases focus on customers who increasingly prefer on-site support from a single source" said Frits van Hout, ASML Senior Vice President of Worldwide Customer Support. Dr. Yuji Watanabe adds: "In addition, ASML and Gigaphoton have agreed on sharing technical expertise to ensure 24x7 support of field service engineers."

In order to provide effective and efficient solution, Gigaphoton and ASML have developed a working agreement to provide integrated service support for chip makers and have started to implement in the U.S. The scheme provides an extensive first line infrastructure and capabilities by ASML Customer Support, combining and fully utilizing the expertise of Gigaphoton engineers for escalation management and new product introduction. The agreement covers laser installation and sustaining maintenance (parts and labor) including warranty.

Gigaphoton has been supplying KrF and ArF excimer laser light sources for lithography tools to ASML since 2000. During this time, ASML and Gigaphoton have established a successful co-operation in development and product support, and both companies are confident that the introduction of the new support scheme will enhance their service capability in US. ASML and Gigaphoton expect to extend this agreement in due course to other parts of the world, in line with customer needs.


About Gigaphoton
Gigaphoton Inc. was founded in 2000 as a joint venture of Komatsu Ltd., the world’s No. 2 construction machinery manufacturer, and Ushio Inc., the world’s No. 1 lithography lamp manufacturer. Since then, Gigaphoton has been developing and marketing user-friendly, highly innovative laser light sources that make a great contribution to lithography technology so as to meet the stringent requirements of the ultra-fine circuit patterns required for the Gigabit era, and delivering them to major lithography tool suppliers in the global semiconductor industry. Gigaphoton has already grown to dominate the Asian market, including, Japan with a large number of installed bases of most of the major semiconductor device manufacturers in this region. Already the No.2 excimer laser light source manufacturer in the world, Gigaphoton continues to enjoy rapid growth in the US and European markets.

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© 2006 Gigaphoton