Reply to post: Re: Unexpected consequence ?

China cooks covert chips, recruits global geeks to dodge US restrictions

DS999 Silver badge

Re: Unexpected consequence ?

I would take that bet. EUV didn't obsolete older lithography methods, they are still used for upper metal layers etc. If something better than EUV is eventually developed it is likely EUV will still be needed because whatever replaces it will be even more insanely expensive and difficult to build than the $100 million EUV scanners.

A breakthrough is always possible, but the combined might of the US, Europe, South Korea and Japan tried to find alternatives to EUV for 25 years when it became clear that the "obvious next step" of EUV was going to be far more difficult than first believed, and fantastically expensive to develop with no guarantee it will ever become production worthy. Many other avenues were explored, and all failed. The existing 193nm DUV technology was enhanced again and again with technology like immersion to work around limitations of standard lenses, multipatterning, and other tricks to make it last 20 years beyond the date at which roadmaps originally had it needing to be replaced by EUV. Eventually there were no alternatives remaining to improve DUV, and just in the nick of time they finally were able to make EUV work well enough to allow further progress in smaller and smaller feature sizes on chips.

So sure, China expending all their research might could make a breakthrough that eluded the best minds in the entire rest of the world funded by countless billions of dollars for 25 years. But I doubt it.

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