Canon reveals its 5nm chip technology

Currently, Samsung Foundry and TSMC are two of the semiconductor firms that are capable of producing chips based on 7nm or improved fabrication technologies. ASML is a Netherlands-based company that manufactures EUV lithography systems and provides chip manufacturing equipment to TSMC and Samsung Foundry. According to recent information, a new competitor is about to join this list: Canon.

Canon’s new equipment can be utilized to make 2nm and 5nm semiconductor chips

FPA-1200NZ2C is a new nanoimprint lithography machine developed by Canon. According to the company, it can be used to fabricate 5nm semiconductor chips. The chips thus produced can be used to power smartphones, laptops, servers, and PCs. As compared to the EUV (extreme ultraviolet) lithography technique used by ASML, Canon’s new equipment utilizes NIL (nano-imprint lithography), which consumes less power. The equipment can be further refined to manufacture 2nm chips.

Since 2004, the company has been working on this technology. However, after several setbacks and hurdles, the equipment is finally ready. In NIL, the machinery creates a chip by stamping a mask that has the circuit pattern imprinted on it. According to the company, NIL can perform the circuit transfer procedure more accurately than optical technologies like EUV. However, experts assert that before they can believe Canon’s promises, they need to observe chips being made using the new machinery.

SMIC might use Canon’s equipment to manufacture chips for Huawei

We know that the US has imposed restrictions on the export of chip manufacturing equipment to China. This is because most of the chip tech is developed and patented by US-based companies. For this reason, Chinese companies can’t utilize the chips used by Samsung, Apple, and Qualcomm. Given the fact that Canon is a Japan-based firm, it can supply equipment to China.

Notably, SMIC, the Chinese semiconductor chip fabrication firm, can use this equipment and design chips for Huawei.  If this happens, it will significantly impact the chip foundry industry. since Huawei will be using advanced Kirin chipsets in its smartphones that will be a direct competition to smartphones from other companies.

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