According to media reports, the US government is making another attempt to ban ASML’s high-end chip manufacturing technology from China. It’s not about the EUV exposure systems, but the DUV scanners that are widely needed and the backbone of any wafer exposure.
DUV systems in the picture
ASML sells more than 250 of these DUV (deep ultraviolet) systems per year, more than five times compared EUV exposure machines. While EUV scanners are only needed for the smallest structures, DUV covers a large part of the above nanometer classes in every area. By 2025, ASML’s production of DUV systems should expand to 375 units per year, and China is likely to be included in the forecast so far.
DUV is sufficient for 28 nm chips
Because China spends a lot of money to make the semiconductor industry competitive. Recently, there was talk of about $45 billion back into the DRAM market. DUV is still mainly used here; only very slowly are the three non-China-based industry giants, Samsung, Micron, and SK Hynix, switching to EUV for certain exposure steps.
ASML supplies equipment for all stages of production. Without the technology from the Netherlands, not much would work in the Chinese factories either. Until now, the less sophisticated DUV systems were partially exempt from US trade restrictions, allowing China to continue building new factories and setting them up for production stages up to 28nm and 14nm.
In the spring, it was also rumored that the People’s Republic would create some kind of chip platform to which Western manufacturers would contribute. According to analysts, anyone who wants to do business with China should also interfere with the country.
But even then people already suspected that it should mainly be a way to get the currently banned high-tech back into the country via detours. ASML is meanwhile diplomatic. There is no speculation on comments or rumors, there are no concrete announcements in this area, they say. Nikon, a relatively small lamp in the field of exposure systems in the global market, also noted that there was nothing to complain about.
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