So early research and development of domestic lithography machine, why the final fall behind ASML more than 20 years

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 So early research and development of domestic lithography machine, why the final fall behind ASML more than 20 years


The micro network news and Fujian Jinhua incident opened the prelude of US sanctions against Chinas semiconductor industry. Chinas semiconductor industry has gradually become a topic of discussion among ordinary people. SMICs most advanced EUV lithography machine, which has been unable to arrive for a long time, has become a major concern of the whole people. A few months ago, there was an old news saying that the circle of friends was crazy, which set off a bigger wave: originally, China started to develop lithography so early, so why is it still under the control of others?

Three national conferences on large scale integrated circuits triggered a great explosion of domestic lithography achievements

Lithography machine is the crystallization of large-scale system, high-end technology and engineering limit, known as the pearl on the crown of integrated circuit industry chain. In the 1950s, the United States developed a contact lithography machine. In the 1970s, Perkin Elmer company of the United States successfully developed a 1:1 projection lithography machine. Subsequently, GCA company of the United States launched the step by step and repeat precision projection lithography machine to develop the ratio of projection lithography to 1:5 or 1:10. After the concept of the step-by-step lithography machine was proposed, the technical route of the optical lithography machine was basically stabilized, and the subsequent lithography machines basically belonged to this type. The difference lies only in the variation of the light source.

Nikon and canon of Japan began to enter the field of lithography in the late 1960s. In China, the use of lithography technology to manufacture integrated circuits began in the same period.

In 1965, Chinas first integrated circuit came out in Beijing, Shijiazhuang and Shanghai. As mentioned above, in September 1974, the first national large-scale integrated circuit industry conference was held, and the National Planning Commission held the National Conference on tackling key problems of large-scale integrated circuits and basic materials in Beijing. The proposed goal is to [during 1974-1976, break through the key technologies of large-scale integrated circuit technology, equipment, basic materials and other aspects] the four machine department organized the Beijing shanghai electronic industry We will conduct research and development of large-scale integrated circuits, materials and equipment, and break through materials and equipment such as ultrafine dry plate, photoresist, ultra pure reagent, high-purity gas, magnetic field deflection, electron beam coating machine, etc.

In December 1975, the second national large scale integrated circuit conference was held in Shanghai; in January 1977, the third national large scale integrated circuit conference was held in Guizhou. It can be said that these three conferences directly led to the first big explosion of lithography achievements of CAS system, electronic department system and local R & D units around 1980s.

According to the record of the earliest domestic photolithography machine, it is the gk-3 semi-automatic lithography machine (Wu Xiansheng. u03c6 75mm wafer semi-automatic lithography machine [J]. Semiconductor equipment, 1979 (04): 24-28). This is a contact lithography machine. In 1978, the gk-4 was developed on the basis of gk-3 by 1445 Institute. The diameter of the wafer was increased from 50 mm to 75 mm, and the degree of automation was improved. However, it is still a contact lithography machine.

Gk-3 lithography machine (Liu Zhonghua. Gk-3 semi-automatic lithography machine working principle and performance analysis [J]. Semiconductor equipment, 1978 (03)

Around 1980, the Institute of semiconductors of Chinese Academy of sciences began to develop jk-1 semi-automatic proximity lithography machine. In 1981, two prototypes were successfully developed, and the second stage process test was completed. The process evaluation test of simulating 4K and 16K dynamic random memory devices was carried out. In the same year, the jkg-3 type photolithography machine developed by Shanghai Optical Machinery Factory passed the appraisal and design finalization. It is the first generation of semi-automatic proximity lithography machine in China.

Figure: photo of jk-1 lithography machine

Since the United States has had contact lithography in the 1950s, China is nearly 20 years behind. At the same time, foreign countries began to turn to step and repeat projection lithography in 1978. At this time, the Chinese scientific community also realized that the advantages of the step-by-step projection lithography technology, but limited to the poor domestic technology foundation, it is difficult to realize.

However, according to the requirements of the development of microelectronic technology in China during the eighth and ninth five-year plan, there was an urgent need for a considerable number of step-by-step lithography machines. At that time, the price of an i-line step-by-step lithography machine was $1.6 million, that of an excimer laser DSW lithography machine was $2.1 million, and a set of g-line DSW lithography machine was also $1.2 million Its hard to support.

In this context, shortly after the worlds first DSW lithography machine came out in 1978, the 45th Institute of the Ministry of mechanical and electrical engineering began to track and study the step-by-step lithography machine, benchmarking the 4800 DSW of the United States. In 1985, bg-101 step lithography machine prototype was developed and passed the technical appraisal of electronic department. It was considered that it reached the level of 4800 DSW. If the information is correct, it should be the first step projection lithography machine in China, using 436 nm g-line light source.

Also in 1985, the scanning projection lithography machine developed by Shanghai Institute of Optics and precision machinery, Chinese Academy of Sciences, passed the appraisal, filling a blank for the special equipment of large scale integrated circuits in China. According to this time node, the gap between China and foreign countries in the step-by-step lithography machine has been narrowed to about seven years (1978 in the United States).

It can be seen that the research and development of domestic lithography machine started in the late 1970s, until the late 1980s, the technology has been advancing, and has achieved certain representative results.

The trend of trade, industry and technology prevails, and the R & D of domestic lithography machine begins to be disjointed?

From the 1950s to the early 1980s, Chinas semiconductor industry flourished and started almost at the same time as the world, which is also the key industry background of domestic lithography research and development. But in the mid-1980s, China has fallen behind.

At this time, Japans semiconductor industry had developed into a overlord that the United States was also afraid of. By 1984, Nikon and GCA were equal in the field of photolithography, accounting for 30% of the market. Ultratech accounted for about 10% of the market, while Eaton, P & E, Canon, Hitachi, etc. each accounted for less than 5%. In the same year, ASML was born.

When the whole industry is actively exploring new technologies, due to high prices and Batumi restrictions, Batumi does not approve the export of advanced equipment to China. When foreign process lines have used 0.5 u03bc M equipment, only 1.5 u03bc M equipment is exported to China, which is three generations behind. In addition, in the 1980s, Batumi stipulated that for DSW lithography machines exported to China, the lens Na must be less than 0.17, that is, it can only have a resolution of more than 2 u03bc M.

It was also during this period that the idea of making is better than buying began to prevail in China, and the trade, industry and technology trend was prevailing for a time, and the industry such as integrated circuit was gradually divorced from foreign countries. The industry abandoned the guidelines of independence and self-reliance, and blindly opened up to the outside world. Chinas independent scientific research and industrial system was destroyed. In the aspect of R & D, it was fighting alone, and little scientific research achievements were transformed into commercial products.

The pace of research and development of domestic lithography machine has been greatly slowed down. By March 1990, the ioe1010g direct step and repeat projection lithography prototype developed by the Institute of Optoelectronics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences passed the evaluation. The working resolution was 1.25 u03bc m. The main technical indicators accepted the level of gca8000 in the United States, which was only equivalent to the level of foreign countries in the mid-1980s.

During this period, foreign lithography light source has been stuck at 193 nm for 20 years. Scientists and industry have been exploring solutions beyond 193 nm. TSMC proposed immersion 193nm technology in 2002, which successfully solved this problem, and made lithography technology enter a new stage. At this time, the Ministry of science and technology of the peoples Republic of China organized and implemented the Tenth Five Year Plan 863 plan of 100 nm resolution 193 nm ArF excimer laser stepper scanning projection lithography machine major project research and development, planned to complete the pilot production prototype in 2005, and small batch production in 2007.

When Shanghai microelectronic equipment Co., Ltd. (Smee) was set up in Shanghai in 2002 to undertake the Tenth Five Year Plan lithography project, CETC 45 Institute moved the team engaged in the research and development of step projection lithography machine to Shanghai as a whole to participate in it. In 2008, the state launched the 02 science and technology major special project to connect and continuously tackle key problems. By 2016, Shanghai microelectronics has produced 90nm, 110Nm and 280nm photolithography machines.

However, ASML, which is at the forefront of the world, has already started the research and development of EUV lithography machine, and the first EUV prototype was developed in 2010. Due to the high cost, Samsung, TSMC, Intel and other companies jointly invested to promote the research and development. After several years, ASML became the only supplier of lithography machines with a process of less than 7 nm. So far, the domestic lithography machine is more than 20 years behind ASML.

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This article source: Aiji micro responsibility editor: Wang Fengzhi_ NT2541