The Chinese company, which has been locked out of its chips at peak points with founders like TSMC, has been developing its production tools for several months now. A recently filed EUV scanner patent will allow burning at 7nm and below.
It has now been more than two years since then Huawei cannot make its own high-end chips by some of the founders, including Taiwan’s TSMCBecause of the restrictive measures taken by the Trump administration. To overcome this problem, The Chinese company cooperates with ICRD (Integrated Circuit R&D Center in Shanghai) to develop their own scanners. In mid-November this year, Huawei applied for a patent with China National Intellectual Property Administration For EUV Scanner (Patent Application No. 202110524685X).
This patent application appears to cover all the essential components of an EUV scanner: a 13.5 nm EUV light generator (light source), an array of reflective mirrors, a lithography system and metrology-related techniques.
Huawei’s EUV scanners in a few months?
Of course, this does not mean that Huawei is actually capable of building and using a large-scale EUV scanner. Besides fabrication and qualification of the scanner, mass production will require many other items, starting with suitable films. But the company clearly appears to be on track to achieve that within a few months or years. This would allow it to manufacture its chips with a pattern precision of less than 7 nanometers.
The Dutch company ASML is the world’s leading manufacturer of UV scanners. It sells its devices to the five founders who use or plan to use such scanners: TSMC, Samsung, SK Hynix, Micron and Intel. One of the main Chinese founders, SMIC, can’t get any of it.
As Anton Shilov of Tom’s Hardware US writes, an EUV scanner with a 0.33 numerical aperture is state of the art right now; It is the result of a decade of development by ASML, with financial support from other companies such as TSMC, Intel or Samsung. The future will determine if Huawei teams will succeed in developing such scanners. With a turnover of about $ 100 billion (against just under 70 billion for Intel in 2022, and about 220 billion for Samsung), the Chinese company in any case has a certain financial basis for this.
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