Lithography: gatekeeper to technological independence and advancement

The history and future of lithography, and China’s response to EUV export restrictions

Advanced lithography techniques are some of the key drivers of semiconductor advancement. China’s SMIC achieved a 7nm process without the use of EUV – a feat previously considered unlikely – using alternative lithography techniques.

This ebook examines the various lithography techniques currently in use in consumer electronics, they key players in lithography R&D and development through their patents, and China’s response to EUV restrictions.

Advanced lithography techniques, which are required to print ultrafine features on to chips, are primary enablers of modern technology advancement. There are many different lithographic techniques, with EUV considered the modern-day frontrunner leading the way to the world’s most advanced chips.

America has imposed restrictions on the technologies that corporations can provide to some Chinese entities, including on the equipment produced by Dutch company ASML that is required to perform EUV lithography. In so doing, America (and supporting Western nations) had hoped to significantly hamper China’s ability to achieve the most advanced semiconductor technology.

In actuality, the restrictions triggered innovation – as is always the case in semiconductor evolution – and China’s SMIC quietly achieved the 7nm process without EUV.

In this ebook, Sinjin Dixon-Warren examines key lithography techniques currently in use or in heavy research and development. The ebook includes a discussion of patent holdings in lithography equipment and techniques, and it comments further on China’s response to EUV restrictions.

eBook Table of Contents:

  1. Foreword by John Boyd, Technical Product Manager, Logic
  2. Introduction
  3. SMIC achieves 7nm process technology
    • Deep ultraviolet (DUV) techniques
    • Self-aligned quadruple patterning (SAQP)
  4. Lithography for semiconductors – origin and evolution
    • Looking at the evolution of equipment and techniques from 1960 to ASML’s EUV
  5. Lithographic methods in practice – TechInsights’ analysis of Samsung’s 5LPE process
    • Detailed imagery examining metal gates, fin mandrels, active fin cuts, and the different lithography techniques employed by Samsung to achieve their 5LPE process
  6. Nano-imprint lithography and direct self-assembly lithography
    • Examining the leading alternatives to EUV, NIL, DSA, and EBL
  7. Exploring advanced lithography innovation in patents
    • Patent counts for companies leading R&D in EUV and alternatives in China and rest of world
  8. Conclusion

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Lithography eBook

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