In early November, representatives of the Japanese company Canon announced that the nanoprinting equipment they had developed would make it possible to produce 5 nm chips 10 times cheaper than using ASML analogues. This week it was announced that Canon will not only begin shipping such devices this year, but also expects to master 2nm nanoprinting technology over time.
Recall that in classical photolithography, the outlines of a future microcircuit are drawn on a silicon substrate by projecting an image through a photomask and then etching parts of the crystal that are not protected by photoresist material. Canon’s technology involves nanoprinting the outline of a microcircuit onto silicon. According to representatives of the Japanese company, this technology is already ready for mass production and deliveries of special devices to customers will begin this year.
Experts | I findthat there will be no sensation, and initially Canon technology, which allows up to ten times savings in equipment compared to classic photolithography and reduces energy costs by 90%, will be used primarily in the production of 3D NAND memory chips come a pretty primitive structure. Canon technology will not be able to replace EUV lithography on an industrial scale, but they will coexist.
Now Canon has a unique opportunity to draw customers’ attention to this chip production technology, as the photolithography equipment market has been waiting for delivery for a year and a half. Company representatives claim that this technology has a good margin of error, although outside experts believe that it should not exceed 10% to be commercially attractive. Over time, Canon wants to learn how to “print” 2nm chips. According to company representatives, the introduction of this equipment into modern technological processes does not require significant adjustments, although manufacturers will have to replace some of the additional equipment.
From the point of view of the possibility of purchasing such devices for Chinese Canon customers, everything is not so simple. On the one hand, no US-made components and technologies are used, which is why US authorities cannot impose on a Japanese company the conditions for supplying such equipment for export. On the other hand, Japan’s own export restrictions with respect to China are significantly more extensive than those of the USA, and overall the situation is too uncertain to make any predictions about the prospects for Canon solutions in the Chinese market.