China sets out to develop EUV lithographic ‘cannon’

China is looking into using a novel extreme ultraviolet ( EUV ) light source to build its own lithography facility, but technology experts warned that it might take years to accomplish such an ambitious goal.

Articles and videos claiming that Tsinghua University has made strides in steady-state microbunching ( SSMB ) technology, which can produce an EUV light source with a power several times greater than that of ASML lithography, have gone viral online in China over the past few days.

They claim that China will be able to get around American and Dutch export restrictions thanks to the upcoming release of a SSMB accelerator with the moniker” printed cannon.” & nbsp,

These followed Huawei Technologies’ launch of its flagship Mate60 Pro, a 7 nanometer chip with ASML deep ultraviolet ( DUV ) lithography and Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp( SMIC ) N 2 processing technology, on August 29.

In an article that was published by the Huxiao Business Review on September 16, a Chongqing-based author says,” We understand that it’s hard to have more advances in chip-processing if we follow the latest scientific way.” ” Walking on a new route will be more practical.”

He claims that Tsinghua’s suggestion to use SSMB technology in lithography may assist China in breaking the ASML modern blockage. & nbsp,

Tsinghua’s proposal, he continues, calls for a sizable factory that uses labor and land — resources that China does not lack— rather than lithography equipment.

In an article that was published on Sunday, Henan-based blogger Bu Xiaotong claims that while China may not be able to produce a printing machine, it may be the case with the production of engraving machines. & nbsp,

Tsinghua’s analysis has now demonstrated the viability of this idea, according to an article in the Chinese scientific journal Acta Physica Sinica, which proposed the creation of SSMB-EUV lithography.

Photo: Tsinghua University: A store necklace design for steady-state microbunching to produce EUV energy

He claims that if China is effective in its plan to construct an SSMB center in the Xiongan New Area near Beijing, it will be able to get around US sanctions.

Another author claims that China does create the SSMB systems because it is unable to get the EUV printing from ASML or essential components like lenses from German Zeiss and laser beam tools from American Cymer and German Trumpf.

How SSMB functions

The idea for SSMB was initially put forth in 2010 by Stanford University researchers Daniel Ratner and Alexander Chao. Their hypothesis was that the electrons in a laser are arranged into tiny clusters that support the output of clear lighting. & nbsp,

Alexander Chao( center ) collaborates with colleagues to conduct an experimental test of steady-state microbunching ( SSMB ) in Berlin. Tsinghua University Photo

In 2016, Chao and researchers from Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin, Tsinghua University, and the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt in Berlin began a project to conduct SSMB tests at the Metrology Light Source. & nbsp,

An article with the subject” Experimental presentation of the process of steady-state microbuching” was published in Nature Physics, an scientific journal, in February 2021 by Tsinghua’s Deng Xiujie and Tang Chuanxiang, Chao, and other scientists.

They claimed that their test is a turning point in the development of an SSMB-based high-repetition, substantial power photon source.

Tang and Deng co-authored an article in Acta Physica Sinica in March 2022 with the title” Regular – state micro-batching accelerator light source ,” claiming that SSMB can be used to produce EUV light sources for printing. & nbsp,

According to the content, the development of China’s EUV printing may be aided by the realization of the SSMB-EUV light source. The SSMB pedal light source is anticipated to be used as a source of light for the printing industry and academic research. Its effectiveness will also keep getting better, and its price will eventually go down.

Professor Tang Chuanxiang teaches engineering science in the Department of Engineering at Tsinghua University. Tsinghua University pictures

Now, the EUV lithography used by ASML uses a light source that is produced by lasers and has the highest power of 500 watts. A ring-shaped SSMB gas with a power of approximately 1 kilowatt can produce an EUV light source. Its circumference could be between 100 and 150 m.

Another source of EUV light is a superconducting radio-frequency free electron laser( SRF – FEL ), which can produce maximum power of 1 to 10 kW. A service like this could extend for up to 200 feet. To accomplish this, more scientific advancements are required.

In general, a light beam’s strength may be 250W for making 7nm chips, 350W or 500W respectively for 5 and 3 nanometers. To produce 2nm cards, 1kW is required.

Project Xiongan

At the China Physics Society fall meeting last November, Pan Zhilong, a professor in the Department of Engineering Physics at Tsinghua University, stated that the SSMB systems can be used in printing. & nbsp,

Pan and some Hebei representatives and scientists held a conference to discuss SSMB – EUV on February 23 of this year. They searched for a location in Xiongan where they could construct this service.

Chinese internet users have recently become aware of all these long-term developments and want to see China move on to producing its own EUV printing following the successful launch of Mate60 Pro. & nbsp,

However, some Taiwanese columnists contend that it is still too early to assert that China can create its own EUV printing. & nbsp,

Even though China has an SSMB gas, according to a writer based in Shanghai, it also requires significant work to create lenses and work platforms for lithography. He claims that for the time being, SSMB would be more useful for studying high-energy speck incidents. & nbsp,

Study: SMIC won’t be harmed by US restrictions on TSMC ex-engineer Liang.

At & nbsp, @ jeffpao3 is Jeff Pao’s Twitter account.