Huawei might have figured out a low-tech way of building more advanced chipsets


Due to the US sanctions against Huawei, the Chinese company has found itself in a pickle when it comes to trying to develop more advanced forms of technology, like smaller chipsets used in smartphones. But it turns out that Huawei might have figured out a way around that problem according to a recently discovered patent.

In order to build more advanced chipsets on a smaller process, it would require lithography machines that are currently only made by one company in the world – ASML. While Huawei’s beef is with the US government, pressure from the US forced ASML to essentially stop selling its machines to China.

According to this patent, Huawei suggests that they have found a way around the problem using a method described as “self-aligned quadruple patterning”. In other ways, it etches circuitry patterns into silicon wafers multiple times to increase transistor density. This means that it would allow Huawei and its manufacturing partners to build 5nm chipsets without the need for a lithography machine.

The downside is that more advanced chipsets smaller than 5nm will probably still require lithography machines, so this seems like a temporary stop-gap measure. Huawei surprised the world last year when they launched the Mate 60 Pro. The phone came with a 7nm 5G capable chipset built by China’s SMIC.

This prompted the US government to launch an investigation as to how SMIC managed to accomplish that despite the sanctions against Huawei. Take note that this is only a patent. Whether or not Huawei will make use of it remains to be seen, or if they have figured out a different and more sustainable way.

Tyler Lee
A graphic novelist wannabe. Amateur chef. Mechanical keyboard enthusiast. Writer of tech with over a decade of experience. Juggles between using a Mac and Windows PC, switches between iOS and Android, believes in the best of both worlds.

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