Recently, the trade dispute between Japan and South Korea has aroused concern. As Japan imposed sanctions on South Korea on semiconductor raw materials, South Korea’s domestic semiconductor giants Samsung and Sk Hynix began to panic. They are studying how to get rid of this dilemma.
The Japanese government said last week that it will stop the preferential treatment of three raw materials to South Korea and require exporters to obtain a permit every time they want to ship. The process takes about 90 days.
The sanctions severely banned three materials in Japan that could not be replaced by South Korea: used to transfer circuit patterns to semiconductor chips Photoresist; used in the chip manufacturing processHydrogen fluoride for etching gas; fluorine-containing polyimide for smart phone displays.
Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix had to seek to buy these from Taiwan or Mainland China Materials, as well as possible companies in other countries are also included.
A core company in KoreaA spokesperson for the film manufacturer said: "These materials cannot be quickly found elsewhere, nor can we buy them. Even if we find alternatives outside of Japan, we must also test them to ensure that the quality is good enough to be able to Produce high-yield chips."
Moreover, two of these three materials cannot be stored. Hydrogen fluoride is a highly toxic gas, while photoresist Will go bad.
Hydrogen fluoride can also be imported from China, but it is really difficult to find alternative products for photoresist and fluorine-containing polyimide.
Japan’s material science is advanced, and South Korea wants to catch up with Difficult
The South Korean government has just passed a bill to invest in semiconductor raw materials and production equipment. The purpose is to not be caught in the neck of other developed countries in the future. How long will Japan’s sanctions come.
According to Japanese media reports, Japan’s fluorine-containing polyimide accounts for about 90% of the world’s total output, and it also accounts for about 90% of the world’s Resist production. According to South Korean industrial data, South Korea imported from Japan in the first five months of this year.144 million US dollars of photoresist, hydrogen fluoride and fluorine-containing polyimide.
Why can Japan monopolize these semiconductor materials?
Take Shin-Etsu Chemical in Japan as an example. Shin-Etsu is the world’s largest silicon wafer manufacturer, capable of producing 11 9s (99.999999999%) purity and uniform crystal structure of single crystal silicon, the technology is at the leading level in the world. Its development process can reflect the development process of Japanese semiconductor materials to a certain extent:
The first stage: basic research and industrialization stage (1941-1953)
After World War II, Japan began to come into contact with the American silicone industry. Toshiba, Shin-Etsu Chemical and Shimadzu started to develop silicone industrial technology. In 1952, Shin-Etsu Chemical Co., Ltd. completed the monomer model test by using the direct method of powder contact stirring. Silicone products began to be put on the market, and the Japanese silicone industry began to develop.
The second stage: the rapid development stage (1953--1966)
In 1953, Shin-Etsu Chemical obtained the right to use the "expertise" of the patent holder—General Electric Company (GE) of the United States. In 1954, the company received a subsidy for the industrialization of silicone rubber from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry of Japan. In 1957, it signed a patent license agreement with DC company for related products. In 1960, it began to produce 1960 high-purity silicon, vinyl acetate monomer, polyVinyl alcohol, the company's silicone series business began to enter the right track. With the help of the government's industrialization subsidy, the company vigorously carried out research and development work, independently developed new silicone rubber products such as polyurethane foam stabilizers with new structures and addition-formed liquid silicone rubber, which increased the company's market share. In March 1960, Shin-Etsu Chemical's organic silicon product sales exceeded the 100 million yen mark for the first time. Since then, Shin-Etsu Chemical's organic silicon monomer output is second only to the three companies in the United States, GE, DC and UC, ranking fourth in the world. Relying on the rapid development of Shin-Etsu Chemical, the production of organic silicon in Japan increased by nearly 6 times in 1960-1970. At this stage, Japanese organic silicon completed the stage from weak to strong.
3. The stage of sustainable development (1967-1988)
1966, 1967The patents of the United States DC and GE on the synthesis and hydrolysis of organic silicon monomers have successively expired in Japan. The two companies jointly established Toray Silicone Corporation and Toshiba Silicone Corporation in 1967 and Toshiba Corporation respectively in 1967 and 1971. . The two companies and Shin-Etsu Chemical formed a three-pronged situation. As a representative of "domestic technology", Shin-Etsu Chemical has taken a number of measures to stabilize the position of domestic silicones, enabling Shin-Etsu Chemical to gradually gain an advantage in the competition with American companies. At this stage, the organic silicon industry in Japan is also in a stage of sustained rapid development. From 1970 to 1986, the output of organic silicon in Japan increased from about 6000 tons to over 60,000 tons, and the output increased by more than 10 times. At this stage, Japanese organic silicon completed the overtake of the United States. At the same time, in 1979, Japan’s organic silicon products imported 3.6 billion yen and exported 3.7 billion yen. Japan alsoCompleted the transition from a silicone importing country to an exporting country.
Technology R&D is king
Shin-Etsu Co-established There are seven R&D centers: Silicone-Electronic Materials Research Center, Advanced Functional Materials Research Center, Magnetic Materials Research Center, New Functional Materials Research Center, Semiconductor Materials Research Center, Special Chemical Materials Research Center andPVC Research Center. In addition to the various preferential policies and subsidies granted by the Japanese government in the early stage of industry development, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry re-formulated the "Basic Program for Research and Development of Silicone Polymer Materials" with an investment of 16 billion yen in 1989. The plan was divided into three phases with the purpose of To determine the synthesis and processing technology of silicone monomers and polymers, this plan once again provided strong financial and technical support for silicone manufacturers led by Shin-Etsu Chemical. With the support of these funds and technologies, Shin-Etsu Chemical has grown step by step to become the world's largest single crystal silicon manufacturer under continuous research and development. Such as the photoresist mentioned above, etching gas, etc. are all developed in this way.
Many people worry about whether China is also being choked by Japan. The answer is correct-China is also stuck. No country can manufacture all the raw materials and equipment by itself. Even if it is as strong as Japan, there are some equipment that it cannot manufacture.Such as plasma CVD equipment, electroplating equipment. However, we must face up to Japan’s strengths in semiconductor materials, speed up capital and technology research and development expenditures, in order to improve the status quo of being choked as soon as possible.
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