Japanese imaging company Canon is developing a cheaper alternative to the chipmaking equipment produced by ASML Holding, the dominant player in the market. Canon’s new nanoimprint lithography technology aims to undercut ASML’s expensive extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV) machines, which are used to make cutting-edge semiconductors. Canon claims its technology uses less power and is “one digit” cheaper than ASML’s machines. The company hopes to start shipping its chipmaking equipment as early as this year.
Canon, known for its cameras and printers, is looking to reestablish itself in the semiconductor industry. It has spent over a decade developing its own chipmaking technology and sees its new nanoimprint lithography technology as a way to compete with ASML. Canon’s technology stamps the chip’s design directly onto a silicon wafer, while ASML’s EUV machines use light to etch circuit patterns. Canon claims its technology can already produce a 5nm chip and is targeting a 2nm chip, the most cutting-edge chip that companies like TSMC and Samsung hope to mass produce.
However, Canon will face challenges in convincing customers to switch from the established EUV technology to its new nanoimprint lithography technology. It will also need to overcome export restrictions put in place by the US and the Netherlands limiting the sale of advanced semiconductors and chipmaking equipment to China. Canon will need to navigate these challenges in order to successfully sell its chipmaking equipment to Chinese customers.
- Canon is developing a cheaper alternative to ASML’s chipmaking equipment
- Its nanoimprint lithography technology aims to undercut ASML’s expensive EUV machines
- The technology uses less power and is “one digit” cheaper than ASML’s machines
- Canon claims its technology can produce a 5nm chip and is targeting a 2nm chip
- Canon will need to convince customers to switch to its new technology and navigate export restrictions to sell to Chinese customers