To break through the “stuck neck” difficulty, the road is obstructive and long, but the line is about to come.
Photoresist, also known as photoresist, is one of the most core materials in the entire photolithography process. In chip production, photoresist is an indispensable material. But at present, the degree of localization of photoresist is very low, and domestic wafer manufacturers rely more on imports.
It is reported that, according to different technology categories, the self-sufficiency rate of domestic low-end g-line/i-line photoresist is about 20%, the self-sufficiency rate of KrF photoresist is less than 5%, and the high-end ArF photoresist is completely dependent on imports, and therefore has become One of the semiconductor card neck technologies that China urgently needs to overcome.
Recently, good news has come from the domestic photoresist industry. The domestic manufacturer Nanda Optoelectronics announced that the high-end ArF photoresist developed by the company has been certified by a domestic company and can be used in 55nm process manufacturing.
On the evening of May 31, Nanda Optoelectronics issued an announcement stating that the ArF photoresist independently developed by its holding subsidiary, Ningbo Nanda Optoelectronics, was certified on the 50nm flash memory platform of a memory chip manufacturer in December last year. The manufacturing company has achieved a certification breakthrough on the products of the 55nm technology node, indicating that the company’s photoresist products have met the process requirements for the metal wiring layer of the 55nm platform.
It is reported that although the ArF photoresist of Nanda Optoelectronics passed the 55nm process certification this time, the ArF photoresist covers a wide range of process technologies and can be used in the manufacturing process of 90nm-14nm or even 7nm technology nodes. It is currently widely used in high-end chip manufacturing. (Including logic chips, memory chips, AI chips, 5G chips and cloud computing chips, etc.).
At present, stimulated by the global “chip shortage”, the prices of imported chips have generally risen, and domestic fabs have also received a large number of orders, which makes the upstream raw materials needed in chip production even more in short supply. Thanks to this benefit, domestic photoresists have also received many orders.
However, under extremely high technical barriers, the photoresist market is still under the monopoly of several companies in the United States and Japan. It is reported that TOP5 manufacturers such as JSR and Shin-Etsu Chemical currently account for 87% of the global share.
Foreign monopolization and the short shelf life of photoresist itself (6-9 months), in the event of an emergency, it will have a negative impact on my country’s chip manufacturing. Therefore, the localization of photoresist is imperative, and the technological breakthrough of Nanda Optoelectronics is obviously a good start for this.