Japanese multinational Canon has announced a new nanoimprint lithography (NIL) machine that is capable of producing parts down to a 5nm process node, with the potential to produce 2nm parts with further refinement.
This technology could challenge the position of Dutch semiconductor manufacturing equipment maker ASML, which currently dominates the market with its extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV) kit used in the manufacturing of chips below 7nm.
Canon’s NIL technology uses a stamping process to transfer circuit patterns onto the chip die wafer without relying on complex optics or mirrors used in EUV applications.
It is hoped that this technology could skirt existing US curbs on the export of high-end chipmaking equipment to China. However, some analysts remain skeptical about the potential of NIL technology due to challenges with defects, overlay, and throughput.