New device to help China produce its own nano products
A new device using nanotechnology will boost China’s ability to manufacture microchips used in sensors and optical instruments, the deputy chief designer said on Friday.
Hu Song, deputy chief designer of the project, told the Global Times on Friday that photolithography is a key technique used to create circuitry patterns on chips. It is used in the manufacturing of microchips and optical instruments.
The photolithography devise, developed by the Institute of Optics and Electronics under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), was officially approved on Thursday.
The machine is the core equipment used to manufacture microchips, a field in which China has long been lagged behind. The successful development of the device will help the country overcome intellectual property barriers set by foreign countries.
Earlier this year the US abruptly barred the export of US-made microchip to Chinese tech giant ZTE, which was almost forced to shut down.
The new machine uses a photo-like printing technique to transfer a fine pattern onto silicon wafers. The machine can etch circuitry patterns of less than 22 nanometers using ultraviolet light. It can produce chips with circuitry of 10 nanometers with its double exposure technology, according to a statement sent to Global Times by the CAS.
The cost of each photolithography machine will be between 10 million ($1.4 million) and 20 million yuan. The future market potential is huge but currently it cannot replace the photoengraving machine using integrated circuit technology that is produced by Dutch company ASML Holding, Hu told the Global Times.
Work still needs to be done to improve the machine’s efficiency, overlay accuracy and production yield, Hu said, adding “Slow work yields fine products.”
The technology is already being used by some institutions in China, including China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, the Huxi Hospital affiliated with Sichuan University and the University of Electronic Science, the statement reads.