Nanoimprint lithography(NIL) is battling extreme UV lithography for the next generation lithography techniques to produce sub 50nm semiconductor chips. NIL is a "waffle iron" stamping process using liquids and using either UV light or heat to solidify sub 100nm structures. Currently, INTC just released sub 90nm technology but current techniques will not be able to get any smaller. The rewards will be enormous with NIL cause the winner could very well be the new KLAC/AMAT. I have a feeling the industry will turn to NIL rather than extreme UV given its cost/size advantages. The leading players in NIL is Obducat from Sweden, Molecular Imprints(private) and Nanonex(private). The only public co. is Obducat(OBDCF). It is traded on the pinksheets in the US and on the Nordic Growth Mkt(NGM) in Sweden and in Germany also. They have 200M shares outstanding and it is currently trading at 0.60-0.70 cents US, hence the mkt cap is only 135M or so. They have partnered with GE Plastics and have sold to IBM and is working with a major US semiconductor company who many feel is INTEL!. This semi co. took delivery of the NIL/stamper unit almost 2 yrs ago and have been testing it extensively. They have delivered over 30 of their units worldwide and their competitors approx. 2-3. Revenues for 03' will be approx. 7-8 M. They have an advantage in which they include the alignment scanning electron microscope with the stamping part of NIL machine, whereas other have 2 seperate pieces. Half of their income will come from NIL and other half from SEM's. Molecular Imprints is being backed by MOT, KLA Tencor, Lam Research, Draper Fisher Jurvetson. Nanonex was founded by Stephen Chou, who ultimately developed this technique while at Princeton Univ. The beauty of NIL technology is not only will it lead to sub-50nm technology and ultimately picometer tech., the cost to produce the chips is supposedly 10 times cheaper than standard current techniques. I think Obducat has the lead right now and within the next 2 years, my vibes tell me that INTC will either partner with them or buy the co. outright for a huge premium(just a hunch). Here are some excepts with Obducat's CEO from Wallstreet Reporter.
"- Now for the financial community here, tell us a little more about the value proposition that benefits of
this new lithography that you are working on.
EUV has a cost of ownerhip problem which is something that the semiconductor today has no solution for..
A different type of lithography s needed,.
There is no other production technology that can do that today except for nanoimprint technology.
- Excellent. Now, Patrik, I understand that you consider Obducat to be an enabling company can you tell us more about that?
..The stamp that we use has 3-dimensional structures upon it and it requires a lot of know-how and
technology how to be able to produce that stamp with structures sizes which go below 50 nanometers.
Now, Obducat is the only company that is working on nanoimprint lithography
that also has the know-how on the electron beam lithography and stamp production technology.
So, we are able to offer our customers not only the nanoimprint part of it but also
the technology Or the production service for the customers that they can buy these stamps from Obducat,
we produce them for their account. They send us a design, they get a stamper back, they can put that into their
nanoimprint machine and then start the production. This is something we have had now since a year ago running on
a commercial basis based on machines that we have sold to customers. So this is one of the major advantages,
that we can take the responsibility towards the customer that the introduction of nanoimprint lithography will
succeed because we have also the stamp production know-how. We Can take that responsibility.
- Certainly an enormous value proposition!
- Yeah, and the other advantages is of course the technology itself. Our soft-press technique is of such value that we don't see that our competitors can be so complete in offering because,
(this is a patented part of our system)
, It enables us to do imprint over very large areas as well as creating uniformity
of the imprint over the entire area, which is important in the processing.
WIthout uniformity, within the range that we have, let's say +- 20 nm it is very difficult to optimize a production flow,
and if you can not optimize a production flow you will not be able to implement it into mass production.
So these are key things that is needed, and this is where I think that we differ very much from our competitors.
- Good, now we addressed your product offering. Let's look forward. Any key challenges that you see coming in the
coming quarters or in the coming year?
- For our company specifically, the big challenge now of course is to be able to ramp up to become a supplier to the industry
to be able to offer local service and support and so on. To be able to grow the company quickly enough and at the same time
maintain the overall customer care which we foresee.
- Good, and certainly that will be a tribute to your management team
after Patrik has spoken about the leaders in the company this follows
Efter at Patrik berättat om ledningen så följer detta:
- Excellent, Impressive Team! Now tell us more about why Wall Street continue to track your stock?
There is such a huge potential!
We have more than 30 installations around the world, our competitors have sold 2 machines for this purpose.
We are much further advanced than our competitors, we have today
We are considered more or less to form some
form of standard in nanoimprint, and this is the information we get from our customers.
That means that Obducat has a very interesting position today. We have the possibility,
if we deal our cards right, to be a very successful player in the nanoimprint lithography area,
and for that reason there is of course a huge potential on the growth size of the company.
We can attract not only interesting people, we can attract the interest of companies that can complement Obducat further down
the road which could potentially mean that we would bring in new capital, not to manage our own growth
but to be able to acquire companies. So there will be investment opportunities maybe for VC players
also even though Obducat itself does not need additional capital it will be in order to finance acquisitions.
And of all this, of course end up with that there is a huge potential on the value creation and the
value increase of the company which compare today is more or less equal to the sum of the capital that has
been put in to the company in total.
- Good, excellent! Certainly nanotechnology is a fascinating sector Patrik and we're excited to
see the enormous progress by companies like yours. We wish you continued success!"