The US won’t be able to stop SMIC from advancing to the 5nm node, top lithographer Burn Lin told Bloomberg. “It’s just not possible for the US to completely prevent China from improving its chip technology,” the former TSMC executive said, pointing out that the equipment used to manufacture 7nm chips for Huawei will enable 5nm patterning as well. Lin didn’t comment on process technology beyond the 5nm node, but China will likely look into new materials and advanced packaging technology to create more powerful semiconductors.
Lin is often hailed as the father of immersion lithography. He was born in Vietnam but spent most of his career in the US, working for IBM. In 2000, he was invited to join TSMC. After retiring, Lin accepted a position at the Taiwan’s National Tsing Hua University.