In the middle of last month, the Japanese company Canon began supplying customers with equipment for printing 5nm chips without photolithography. This month, representatives of the Japanese manufacturer said that such devices would be about ten times cheaper than analogues from ASML and would also consume ten times less electricity.
Let’s remember that previously, although Canon produced lithography equipment, it could only compete with ASML in terms of resolution in a part of the ASML range, and not in the most advanced one. For ten years, Canon has been developing a nanochip printing technology that does not involve projecting photomasks onto a silicon wafer. The new technology solution, although inferior in performance to traditional photolithography machines, offers a number of advantages, Canon CEO Fujio Mitarai was quoted as saying Bloomberg.
Compared to ASML devices with similar technological capabilities, Canon’s offer, according to the company’s boss, will be able to subtract one digit from the numerical value of the cost. However, the final decision on the adopted pricing policy has not yet been made, but it is quite obvious that the new type of technological equipment from Canon will make chip production more affordable for small businesses. Even large contract manufacturers are more willing to take on small product series with Canon devices, according to the head of Canon. Secondly, Canon devices in this family consume ten times less energy than the devices used by ASML for EUV lithography. In our age of environmental struggle, this is important, and energy costs as such can also be reduced.
In the sanctions of the Japanese authorities against China, which have been in force since July of this year, devices for nanoprinting chips are not directly mentioned, but Canon management assumes that the company will still not be able to supply them to Chinese customers, since with its help could the latter to produce “thinner” 14nm components, which is not welcomed by the Japanese authorities, nor by the United States or its other important ally, the Netherlands.