Lithography machines play an important role in the manufacture of chips. They are used to etch patterns on wafers that show where transistors are placed on chips. One of the biggest breakthroughs was EUV (Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography). This creates extremely thin markings, which are very important when working with chips like the upcoming 5nm Apple A14 Bionic, which contains 15 billion transistors.
Can China Become a Chip Manufacturing Actor?
SMIC is the largest foundry in China
The Suzhou Institute of Nanotechnology and Nano Bionics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Sinano) and the National Center for Nanosciences and Technology announced yesterday that they have made important discoveries related to high-precision laser lithography. However, these discoveries are only theoretical at the moment and a lot of money is needed to make this a reality. The laser lithography device produces precision patterns for the production of semiconductors, photonic chips and microelectromechanical systems. The research paper was printed by Nano Letters, a scientific journal of the American Chemical Society.
Experienced Beijing-based industry analyst Xiang Ligang told the Global Times: “… It will take China years to close the gap with advanced western suppliers, particularly ASML. Xiang says the latter has monopolized key technologies for its machines and points out suggests that it is difficult to raise capital for such a project because the returns are low and such an investment can tie up investor money for a long period of time. The analyst says, “Chinese research institutes have to work with companies to develop theories translate into products. In terms of profits, making a chip making machine could cost billions of yuan, and it will take years for the investment to pay off. Most Chinese companies don’t see it as a good deal. “
While the Chinese may not currently be focusing on such a project, fundraising could ultimately make SMIC a competitor, and that could only be good news for Huawei and the country.