So 2028-2029 fingers crossed Russia will have 28nm chip production started?
In Sarov, they promise to present the first "import-substituting" demo-lithograph in 2 years. But why?
19.09.2023 Electronics market Russian market Microelectronics News, Articles
Scientific Director of the National Center for Physics and Mathematics, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexander Sergeev said that the "alpha machine" will be ready within two years, and the version for microelectronics enterprises - in another three years. The X-ray lithograph is planned for a 28-nm process technology, but at first they will show only 90 nm.
The first demonstration sample of the Russian lithograph for the production of microcircuits will be ready within the next two years, and within five years, scientists plan to produce an industrial version of the installation. This was told to TASS by the scientific director of the National Center for Physics and Mathematics, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexander Sergeev.
"We plan to make a machine within two years, it is called an "alpha machine", which will confirm the correctness of the chosen technology and demonstrate a working lithograph. And then the next version will be manufactured, one that will be a complex, < ... > by the fact that it will be possible to put it at the enterprise of the microelectronic industry, "said Sergeev, noting that Russia has almost all the competencies so that such an industrial version of the domestic lithograph appears in five years.
The main task of the alpha machine is to demonstrate that all the fragments of the technology work together, and not separately, the academician noted: "This is both a source of X-ray study, and X-ray optics that correctly projects on a photoresist, these are photoresists and a positioning system with nanometer accuracy." Moreover, Sergeev specified, the target resolution of 28 nm will not be obtained immediately.
"Of course, this does not mean that in two years there will be a resolution of 28 nanometers. It will improve gradually. And not due to the fact that we will introduce some new technologies - we will demonstrate the technologies immediately, but due to the fact that the work will be honed. <... >I think it will be great if we demonstrate with these new technologies in two years the 90 nanometers that we now have, but already in the coordinated work of all systems," he said. According to the academician, the project to create a lithograph is financed by Rosatom from its investment programs, and this project is actively supported by the government of the country.
Lithography (from the Greek "lithos" - stone and "grapho" - I write, draw) is one of the most widely used technologies for obtaining nanostructures. Initially, lithography was a printing method in which prints are obtained by transferring ink under pressure from a flat printing plate to a smooth surface. Lithography in micro- and nanoelectronics is the formation of a relief pattern in a special sensitive layer — a resist — on the surface of a silicon substrate. The pattern repeats the geometry of the chip.
To do this, a thin layer of material is applied to the silicon substrate, from which a pattern must be formed. A photosensitive material is applied to this layer - a photoresist, which is irradiated through an optical system and a photomask - a mask. It is an enlarged stencil of the projected pattern. After subsequent processing of the photoresist, a given pattern remains on the plate. The shorter the wavelength of radiation, the smaller the size of the resulting elements of the picture. In the process of manufacturing chips, the operation of photolithography on one plate is repeated many times, and each new image must be very accurately aligned with the previous one.
As the ex-employee of the Zelenograd NIIME, who wished to remain anonymous, told the editorial board of VE, the project, which is announced by Academician Sergeev, looks very utopian and is unlikely to be implemented in its intended form. "Russia, as usual, is looking for its own, unique path, ignoring many years and multibillion-dollar experience in the research and production of world microelectronics. X-ray lithography has long been recognized by the world community as a dead-end branch of the development of microelectronics. Yes, it, with certain efforts and with a number of significant limitations, allows you to make nanometer structures, but any more or less mass production becomes fatally expensive and provides an unacceptably low KVG (yield ratio - ed.). World science has long passed this path and solved the problem of mass photolithography with technical standards of 28 nm (and even 22, 14 and 10 nm) using the usual "cheap" ultraviolet radiation with a wavelength of 193 nm, using various tricks. And for the transition to even finer technical processes, which the academician does not even stutter about on the future domestic X-ray lithograph, the so-called EUV lithography has been successfully developed and applied, which uses hard ultraviolet light with a wavelength of 13.5 nm, which is close to the X-ray range, but is still considered ultraviolet light and easier to use. After all, X-ray lithography uses soft X-rays with a wavelength of 0.5-5 nm, where completely different physics works and completely different materials are used. Moreover, the development of EUV lithography took more than a dozen years and cost a hard-to-calculate number of tens of billions of dollars spent by the world's top chipmakers with tens or even hundreds of thousands of highly qualified specialists, which Russia simply does not have now. And there's nowhere to get them."
"The 20-year lag of domestic microelectronics," the VE source continues, "cannot be so simply, at the snap of sleek government fingers or by the efforts of the respected, but incompetent in microelectronics Rosatom, to reduce even at least 15 years (the same desired 28-nm process technology was introduced by Intel back in 2009). Domestic developments in X-ray lithography have been known for more than a quarter of a century, but "things are still there." And for good reason! Also, do not forget that the current practically achievable limit of X-ray lithography is considered to be sizes of the order of 5-10 nm, while EUV lithography has already mastered 3-4 nm for mass production and work is underway on 1-2 nm. In addition, the proposed 28-nm X-ray domestic lithograph will not be able to produce microprocessor and memory chips with hundreds of millions and even more so billions of transistors. That is, you don't even have to stutter about any competitiveness of such chips, your own telecommunications stuffing, computers, AI chips, smart robots, etc. His destiny is single prototypes of microcontrollers of a low degree of integration for military and, possibly, special space applications. Even China, oppressed by anti-chip sanctions, has already overtaken us in its own microelectronic developments and technologies for a fatal number of years, which we have no way to reduce in the foreseeable future.
"As the famous Russian song says, "I blinded him from what was, and then washed his hands with soap for a week," an independent specialist in microelectronics concludes about the prospects of this project.
Assuming based on the last 2 paragraphs the negative guy is considered an ex-employee because he got fired suggests russia be like everyone else with UV lithography instead of X-ray lithography although smaller than UV was never practical for production because of costs and what the actual size limits are based on experiences of the failures of the west, but like photonic radars, thermal resolution at long ranges, etc maybe Sergeev did find a solution or will find a solution to make x-ray lithography as beneficial as UV?