China material maker Sinyang teams up with Heraeus to develop photoresists

Staff reporter, Taipei; Willis Ke, DIGITIMES Asia 0

Signing the pact with Heraeus. Credit: Sinyang

China-based Sinyang Semiconductor Materials has signed a three-year cooperation pact with Germany's chemical materials vendor Heraeus to jointly develop photoresist for use in producing advanced ICs.

Sinyang said in a statement that it can obtain supply of some raw materials and technical assurance for photoresist production through the partnership with Heraeus, and both sides will also jointly develop innovative photoresist solutions.

The company also disclosed it has landed substantial orders for KrF photoresists from major foundries in China in 2021, and expects its shipments of the semiconductor material to ramp up starting in the second quarter of 2022. Its ArF photoresists are also pending validations at clients.

Currently, the world's photoresist market is dominated by suppliers in Japan and the US, with Japanese vendors alone, mainly Shin-Etsu, JSR and TOK, commanding a 72% share of global supply, the sources said, adding that China now produces less than 5% of all photoresists used in KrF lithography for making 8-inch silicon wafers.

The sources stressed Sinyang's collaboration with Heraeus will not only accelerate the Chinese maker's development of high-end photoresist solutions, but will also add significant momentum to China's self-supply of semiconductor photoresists.

An earthquake in February 2021 disrupted Shin-Etsu's shipments of KrF photoresists to chipmakers in China, prompting many Chinese electronics and semiconductor materials makers to step up production deployments in the segment, the sources said.

Jiangsu Nata Opto-electronic Materials, for instance, raised CNY613 million (US$93.68 million) from the capital market in May 2021, with CNY150 million used to expand annual production capacity of ArF photoresist by 25 tons. Two months later, the company also obtained capital injection from China's National IC Industry Investment Fund, making it the first Chinese ArF photoresist maker validated by the Big Fund.

Red Avenue New Material has entered volume production of G- and I-line sensitive photoresists and KrF ones, and is slated to complete the development of ArF high-end photoresists by the end of 2023.

Crystal Clear Electronic Material has also started mass production of G- and I-line photoresists, and its KrF photoresists are pending validations at clients, with ArF photoresists also under development.