Semiconductor key equipment, Chinese companies successfully

2022/4/18 13:39:41

The production of a finished chip needs to go through a long process, each chip is born, it can be said that it is the crystallization of human scientific and technological development, because to produce this chip, the links involved and the equipment can not be clearly explained in three or two sentences.

To put it simply, a chip needs to go through multiple links such as design, manufacturing, packaging and testing, and each link cannot be omitted, and in these large links, there are many small links.

Take the chip manufacturing process, the difficulties can be summarized into two categories, one is the production capacity of raw materials, and the other is advanced manufacturing process equipment.

In the raw material link, China's chip is stuck at the source, the raw material for the production of chips is polysilicon, although we can get silicon from sand, but its purity can not be 99.99999%, and raw materials are currently basically monopolized by enterprises in Japan, Germany and other countries.

Then there is the photoresist, in the past photoresist has also been monopolized by Japanese companies for a long time, as a product of high-value consumables, China has to import a large number of photoresists from overseas every year, Shanghai Xinyang, Nanda Optoelectronics and other enterprises have made breakthroughs, and have mastered the production process of high-end photoresist.

In the equipment link, the most commonly mentioned is the lithography machine, because the lithography machine is the most complex and core process equipment, before the global production of high-end lithography machine manufacturers have three, namely the Netherlands ASML, Japan Nikon and Canon.

But the high cost of research and development makes it difficult for Nikon and Canon to bear, so the high-end lithography machine manufacturer is only ASML, which accounts for 90% of the global lithography machine market shipments, but China is limited by the Wassenaar Agreement, and it is almost impossible to buy advanced EUV lithography machines.

In addition to the lithography machine, the production of chips also need to use the etching machine, its role is to lithograph the chip circuit diagram for engraving one by one, and each link can not be wrong, in the nail cap size of the chip for this processing, engraving difficulty is very high.

However, China has made outstanding achievements in this regard, and the domestic semiconductor equipment manufacturer Zhongwei Company has successfully achieved a breakthrough.

Recently, Yin Zhiyao, chairman of Zhongwei, revealed at the annual performance meeting that the company is developing a new generation of etching equipment, which can be used for logic processes below 5nm, DRAM chips of 1Xnm and 3D NAND chips of more than 128 layers.

At the same time, he also mentioned that the market share of the etching equipment of Zhongwei Company in the main domestic client market is constantly improving, and the 12-inch high-end etching equipment developed has been operated on the advanced chip production lines such as 65nm to 5nm for internationally renowned customers.

Moreover, in response to the needs of advanced integrated circuit manufacturers, the company has developed less than 5nm etching equipment for several key steps of processing.

In fact, the internationally renowned customer mentioned by Zhongwei Company is TSMC, so etching equipment smaller than 5nm will also be purchased by TSMC next.

Nowadays, with the rise of zhongwei companies, many companies have been unable to leave the equipment produced by zhongwei companies, including some American companies, so the United States can only reach an agreement with Zhongwei companies to allow them to trade in the US market.

From zero to global leadership, Zhongwei Company is actually a microcosm of the rise of China's semiconductor industry.

Although we still need to strengthen our efforts in many places, I always firmly believe that as long as Chinese scientists work together, we will be able to make great breakthroughs!