Huawei builds R&D base for home-grown lithography

Huawei builds R&D base for home-grown lithography

News |
By Peter Clarke

Cette publication existe aussi en Français

Huawei is completing a US$1.66 billion R&D facility in Shanghai where one of the functions will be to develop lithography technologies, according to Nikkei Asia.

The R&D facility is part of a plan formulated by Huawei to eliminate its reliance on foreign chipmakers, from which it has been cut off by US export controls. The company is looking to recruit engineers with experience of working with chip equipment manufacturers such as Applied Materials, Lam Research, KLA and ASML and leading chip manufacturers such as TSMC, Samsung and Intel. It is prepared to pay salaries at twice the going rate Nikkei reports.

At the same time the Huawei working culture is said to be brutal and in the urgent quest for lithography the company is pushing engineers beyond the ‘996’ expecation of 9am to 9pm, six days a week.

7nm tick, 5nm . . .

Huawei is being tipped to introduce a nominal 5nm SoC in 2024. That chip – possibly to be dubbed the Kirin 9010 as a follow up to the nominal 7nm Kirin 9000S – is set to be made by leading CHinese foundry SMIC. To try and get to 5nm Huawei has been reported to be pursuing self-aligned quad-patterning using deep-UV lithography to that end (see Huawei pursues quad patterning to make 5nm chips). The chip

However, the use of quad-patterning of DUV light as such fine geometries is likely to make for a slower and lower yielding manufacturing process when compared to one-pass extreme ultraviolet lithography. The net result may be that while Huawei can technically make a few such 5nm chips it will economically at a disadvantage.   

Back in 2022 Huawei supported the creation of chip foundry in its home town of Shenzhen (see Report: Huawei, Shenzhen support creation of local foundry). Pengxinwei IC Manufacturing Co. Ltd., known as PXW, is run by a former Huawei executive, and is expected to begin manufacturing circuits on a 28nm CMOS manufacturing process in 2025. PXW then plans to go on to 14nm and 7nm manufacturing processes, the report said.

Meanwhile Naura Technology, a successful Chinese manufacturer of etching and chemical vapor deposition tools, has started R&D for lithography systems, according to a South China Morning Post article. Naura would compete against Shanghai Micro Electronics Equipment Group (SMEE), China’s only indigenous lithography provider and SiCarrier (Shenzhen Xinkailai Technology Co. Ltd.), a startup founded in 2021 which is part of a network of companies around Huawei trying to create a self-sufficient semiconductor ecosystem.

Related links and articles:

News articles:

Huawei pursues quad patterning to make 5nm chips

Huawei plans to use SMIC’s ‘nearly-7nm’ process

Opinion: Misplaced outrage over near-7nm SMIC chip

Report: Huawei, Shenzhen support creation of local foundry

Huawei is hurrying to build a wafer fab

If you enjoyed this article, you will like the following ones: don't miss them by subscribing to :    eeNews on Google News


Linked Articles