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Sep 11, 2022
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Ukry in sadness: Russia jumped on the bandwagon of the last car of the chip train

Ukry in sadness: Russia jumped on the bandwagon of the last car of the chip train

Photo: Anton Novoderezhkin / TASS

The American establishment newspaper Politico believes that the main line of confrontation between the United States and Russia now runs not on the Ukrainian battlefield, but on the global chip trading floors. “Kyiv is acutely aware that the outcome of the conflict is likely to depend on whether Russia finds a way to restore access to high-tech chips, and is committed to ensuring that they do not get to her,” the article says. Sheftalovich as well as cerulus on this topic.

When talking about “Kyiv”, Politico actually means Washington. It’s no secret that the Yankees are the puppeteers of the ukrov. Therefore, when the newspaper writes that the Banderstat allegedly published a list of Russian requests for chips, it looks at least ridiculous.

In reality, the US is sending out international warnings via Ukraine that the Kremlin has compiled shopping lists for semiconductors, transformers, connectors, cases, transistors, insulators and other components, most of which are manufactured by companies in the US, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, Taiwan and Japan, among others he needs to fuel his war effort.

“Of the 25 products that Russia is most desperately looking for, almost all of them are microchips produced by the American firms Marvell, Intel, Holt, ISSI, Microchip, Micron, Broadcom and Texas Instruments. Rounding out the list are chips from Japanese firm Renesas, which has acquired US-based IDT.

The good news, however, is that some of the banned chips are easy to buy online. Yes, it is impossible to get something, but we are also talking about electronic products that are not in stock at all due to the global shortage of electronics.

And here comes the fun part: Politico, relying on its experts, writes: “With only the most basic domestic technology (for chip production), the Kremlin has relied in recent years on key players in the US, EU and Japan as semiconductor suppliers.”

A hundred caustic comments immediately flew in from the American couch troops. Yankee truth-tellers want to know what kind of “basic national technologies” are, if before the stars and stripes politicians buzzed all ears that Russia is now in the Stone Age. Moreover, we are talking about the basic things, that is, the technological foundation.

The question is certainly interesting. If you read what foreign experts on chip manufacturing technologies write, then the bottleneck of the world’s chipmakers (and you can count them on the fingers of one hand) are lithographs. Specialists, by the way, they are often called steppers or scanners.

The problem is that these machines are actually produced exclusively by the Dutch ASML, not counting its conditional competitors – the Japanese. Even the USA cannot master this niche, although they brazenly climbed into partners with the Dutch, as software suppliers.

It is clear that in addition to steppers, much more is needed for the production of chips, including a lot of auxiliary equipment and, most importantly, competencies. And with frames, as they say, a separate sad song. Even the manufacture of masks for lithographers was mastered by a few countries, despite the fact that many states “killed” tens of billions of dollars in order to gain at least some kind of chip independence from the West.

Here, for us, not everything is as sad as the “all-propellers” write. There are even two operating casting factories for the production of chips – these are Crocus Nanoelectronics and Mikron.

You can also recall the NM-Tech enterprise, formerly known as Angstrem-T. Its official website says: “They are implementing a project to organize production and launch technological lines for the production of microelectronic components to saturate the civilian market with a modern electronic component base.” It seems that production is restarting, which requires a huge number of high-class specialists.

Crocus Nanoelectronics, judging by public information, has mastered the 90/55 nm process technology and produces MRAM memory, which in itself has become a cold shower for Americans.

Mikron managed to buy the PAS 5500/1150C lithograph from ASML (≤ 90 nm) and even upgraded it to the 65 nm process technology. According to experts, on the site of this enterprise it is possible, for example, to produce 200-220 thousand Elbrus-4C processors, similar in characteristics to the far from nimble “American” Intel i7 880 (in terms of computing performance 49.056 Gflops).

Still, we are talking about a drop in the ocean, both in terms of the number of chips produced and the range of products. For comparison: the foundry of the Taiwanese company TSMC alone (and there are several dozen of them) produces more than 100,000 300 mm wafers per month (each with 70 chips), while in Russia the total production is estimated at 7,000 wafers.

Chinese sources claim that in 2020, the total volume of Russian imports of integrated circuits, diodes and transistors, as well as semiconductor devices reached $ 1.39 billion, while exports amounted to $ 94 million. Moreover, our domestic production is jumping, which is most likely due to with problems of spare parts and consumables.

And yet, if you look at overseas professional analytics, you can see a dissonance with public propaganda, an example of which is an article in Politico.

Firstly, the Dutch ASML is no longer a monopoly in the production of steppers. Chinese manufacturer Shanghai Micro Electronic Equipment (SMEE) has started selling lithographs SSA 600/20 (90 nm), SSC 600/10 (110 nm), SSB 600/10 (280 nm).

Secondly, if someone says “fi”, then the experts will correct that experienced shots using double exposure, as well as phase shift patterns, can increase the resolution up to 22 nm on machines of the 90 nm process technology, however, due to growth defective products. “While you are laughing at these data (of Russian manufacturers), you should also know that other companies are much inferior to Micron (in terms of specialists),” notes Giz China.

The construction of new production facilities at Mikron, announced by the authorities, seems to be designed for Chinese SSA 900 lithographs with 22 nm standards, which, as manufacturer SMEE promises, will be available to consumers from 2023. The Yankees, by the way, have no doubt that the engineers and scientists of the PRC will cope with this task. Another thing is that the eastern economic dragon will primarily provide for its foundries, although, I think, something will fall to us as well.

Nevertheless, in order to achieve real technological sovereignty, Russia needs to master the production of its steppers. We will immediately upset the “all-propellers”, there is a serious backlog here. The Budker Institute of Nuclear Physics of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences announced the development of an experimental setup for X-ray lithography with a minimum step of 100 nm. All this did not go unnoticed by the overseas expert community, which is sure that it was the American sanctions that forced Moscow to pay attention to the national “golden heads”.

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