Canon, the Japanese company recognized for its printers and cameras, unveiled a pivotal solution on Friday, Oct. 13, designed to aid in the production of cutting-edge semiconductor components.
According to a report from CNBC, Canon’s recently introduced “nanoimprint lithography” system represents the company’s competitive response to Dutch firm ASML, a dominant force in the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography machine sector. ASML’s machinery is essential for producing cutting-edge chips, including those used in the latest Apple iPhones.
The utilization of these machines has been drawn into the technological conflict between the United States and China. The United States, employing export restrictions and diverse sanctions, has aimed to obstruct China’s access to crucial chips and manufacturing machinery, hampering the progress of the world’s second-largest economy in a field where it is already perceived as lagging.
ASML’s EUV technology has gained significant traction among leading chip manufacturers due to its crucial role in enabling the production of semiconductors at 5 nanometers and below. This nanometer measurement pertains to the size of chip features, with smaller values accommodating more features on a chip, consequently enhancing semiconductor performance.
Canon reportedly announced that its new system, the FPA-1200NZ2C, can produce semiconductors matching a 5nm process and scale down to 2nm, surpassing the capabilities of the A17 Pro chip found in Apple’s iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, which is a 3nm semiconductor.
The Dutch government has imposed restrictions on ASML, preventing the export of its EUV lithography machines to China, where no units have been shipped. This limitation exists due to the critical role of these machines in the production of cutting-edge semiconductor chips.
With Canon’s assertion that their new machine can facilitate the production of semiconductors equivalent to 2nm, it is likely to face increased scrutiny.
Cointelegraph reported earlier that the Biden administration is targeting a loophole that has allowed developers in China to purchase chips from the infamous Huaqiangbei electronics area in Shenzhen, a city in southern China.