[News] Canon’s Nano-imprint Lithography Reduces Production Costs for Advanced Processes, Narrowing the Gap with ASML

Canon, one of the world’s major manufacturers of lithography equipment, announced the release of the FPA-1200NZ2C Nano-imprint Lithography (NIL) semiconductor equipment in October.

The CEO, Fujio Mitarai, recently stated that the new nano-imprint lithography technology opens up a new path for small semiconductor manufacturers to produce advanced chips.

Canon’s Semiconductor Equipment Business Manager, Kazunori Iwamoto, explained that nano-imprint lithography involves imprinting a mask with the semiconductor circuit pattern onto a wafer. With a single imprint, complex 2D or 3D circuit patterns can be formed in the appropriate locations. By improving the mask, it might even be possible to produce 2nm chips.

Reportedly, Canon’s nano-imprint lithography is capable of producing a minimum 5nm process size. In the 5nm process segment of the advanced semiconductor manufacturing equipment market, currently dominated by ASML’s EUV exposure machines, Canon’s nano-imprint lithography might have the opportunity to narrow the gap.

Regarding equipment costs, Kazunori Iwamoto stated that customer costs vary, and the estimated cost of a single imprint process can sometimes be reduced to half that of traditional exposure equipment processes. Nano-imprint lithography equipment also has a smaller footprint, making it easier to introduce.

Previously, Fujio Mitarai mentioned that the pricing of nano-imprint lithography equipment is one digit less than that of ASML’s EUV equipment. However, the final pricing has not been disclosed yet.

According to NIKKEI’s interview, Iwamoto also indicated that Canon has received numerous inquiries from semiconductor manufacturers, universities, and research institutes. There is anticipation that it could serve as an alternative to EUV, with expectations for the production of various semiconductors, including flash, DRAM for personal computer, and logic ICs.

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(Photo credit: Canon)

Please note that this article cites information from NIKKEI and The Japan Times

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