Shortly after the outbreak of the Sino-US trade war, the United States sacrificed its killing tactics. Their Ministry of Commerce announced to the world that it would take export control measures against ZTE, which immediately pushed the war to its climax. The U.S. publicizes ZTE's violations, and notes control is reasonable and in line with the process. China emphasizes once again that it is not afraid of trade wars. It regards Trump's trade wars as "utterly unreasonable" behavior. At the same time, there is a wide discussion on "chips" among the Chinese people. Some people know chips and integrated circuits for the first time. The relationship between transistors also knows that it takes more than 5,000 processes to produce small chips. Public opinion is also divided into two factions. The pessimists think that China's rise is not successful enough and lacks the core competitiveness of science and technology. The optimists think that China has a strong scale advantage. Concentrating resources on major issues is also applicable to chip manufacturing. Besides, we have made some achievements in smartphones and block chain chips. Achievements, over time, are bound to make breakthroughs.
Albert Einstein once said that if you look at simple things as complex, you can find new fields, if you look at complex things as simple, you can find new laws. For a long time, China has been good at "looking at complex things as simple", so it has summed up a wide range of wisdom and wisdom, such as women's incompetence is virtue, parents'hatred is not shared, summer insects can not speak ice and so on. These laws have created a splendid culture in China for five thousand years, but the thick of the past and the thin of the present make China more modern civilization. The farther we go, the less courage we have to "see simple things as complex". In fact, the loss of "coreless" in China is not only a matter of science and technology, but also a matter of system, culture and humanity.
Is it difficult to build a core or go to the sky?
Chinese culture is not very good at looking at "simple things as complex". In fact, in the eyes of ordinary people, chips are only small things, like nail caps, but they do not like to ask: how do they work? This "lack of curiosity" is almost a universal phenomenon, which also causes the basic defects of "China without core". In fact, the chip is a very complex and delicate combination of micro-components. The bottom module is dense transistors, resistors, capacitors, inductors and other basic components. They are connected to form integrated circuits, then concentrated on the production of a very small area of silicon-based semiconductors, and then encapsulated in the cavity shell, and finally formed us. Seen "chip" form.
The technology of the whole chip is very intensive. A production line involves more than 50 industries and 5,000 processes, such as drawing boards, wafers, streamers, packaging, lithography and other industry terms. Many enterprise employees, including CEOs, are basically unheard of, not to mention the process complexity or determination of Copy. There's a production line. For wafer fabrication, this is almost the most peripheral work of chip fabrication, but still needs very high technical content. First, we need to purify "sand" into silicon, then cut into crystal elements, then lithography, film, etching, cleaning, injection, and finally interconnection, stringing and sealing. Among them, lithography is the link between design and manufacture. The quality of this process directly determines the chip's integration degree and computing ability. Modern chips require that the resolution of lithography should reach nanometer level. What we usually call 12NM and 7Nm process is the distance between the integrated circuits of chips. According to Moore's Law, every 18 months, the number of circuits that can be accommodated on the same area chip will double, which means that lithography technology will continue to improve. At present, Chinese chip companies can only achieve 14nm, while European, American, Japanese and Korean enterprises can reach 10nm, or even 7nm. It is precisely because of the advanced technology, the world's top core. Filmmakers can concentrate kilometers of wires and hundreds of millions of transistor components in a space the size of a nail cap. The whole process is high-precision operation, requiring stable operation of equipment and constant environmental parameters. In addition, perfect line operation test, elimination of unqualified products, and ultimately a limited number of chips. After such a complex process, the cost naturally rises. Considering the rarity of chip manufacturing, it is no exaggeration to say that Samsung, TSMC and CDK have made a lot of money.
In my opinion, the biggest difficulty of chip manufacturing is "small and fine". On the one hand, it is necessary to continuously feed according to Moore's law in order to achieve higher and more comprehensive operation. On the other hand, it is necessary to cater to market demand and make mobile phones and computers smaller and thinner. If we want to find a thing that best represents human desire, it is not a chip. Now.
Short-sighted thinking, basic research is scarce in China.
ZTE has sounded an alarm for China's rapid development. Chinese people need to understand the operation law of the scientific and technological circles in a deeper level so as to clarify China's "core-free" failures and formulate a sustainable development strategy. In the past decade, smart phones have been the greatest invention of human beings. The reason why consumers can put more and more work and life content into this small screen is due to the great progress of mobile phone chips, especially CPU and WIFI, which are the two most important chips, with smaller size and larger circuits. In the new decade, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things will become a hot topic. At that time, the mobile phone will disappear, replaced by objects embedded with chips everywhere. Cars, tables, teacups, trash cans and buildings will be embedded with a large number of chips to collect, analyze and run data anytime and anywhere. Form a world of wisdom. In addition, the human body is expected to be integrated with chips. With the breakthrough of lithography technology and material science, future biochips can be embedded in the brain to help human memory information, computing data, final decision-making and so on.
The chip industry has a bright future, but it has nothing to do with China. Fifty years ago, the choice decided today's dilemma. Today's inaction doomed the gloomy future of the next 50 years. In fact, compared with making chips, Chinese people are more advocating the big work of "opening roads on mountains and bridging water". Therefore, our viaducts, high-rise buildings and high-speed rail are the first in the world, while the small items such as ballpoint pen core and electronic core often do not work well.
In fact, if China wants to catch up with Europe, America, Japan, Korea and other countries in the chip field, the first thing to do is to change its thinking, build a perfect chip ecosystem, and never make the "Great Leap Forward" mistake again. At present, China's chip industry has such problems as investment chaos, insufficient R&D and lack of talent. In the final analysis, it is caused by "ignorance of the most essential law of development of the chip industry and lack of a healthy ecosystem": Chinese investors always hope to see quick returns, but investors in the chip industry often can not see even in their lifetime. In return, we can only leave this wealth to our sons and grandsons. In addition, the investment in chip industry is far from comparable to that of several buildings, which further aggravates the embarrassment of the volume of chip investment in China. I believe that with the development of chip industry, investment will not only be standardized slowly, but also there will be no volume and amount problems. After all, China's capital is still very competitive. The greater challenge of "China Core" comes from the cultivation of talents. Nowadays, college students are more and more disgusted with doing basic subject research, especially basic physics and mathematics. They need to endure loneliness, stay away from the magnesia lamp and do research alone. They also need to endure relatively poor life before they produce results, far from it. If you make a little meat, you can make money quickly. In fact, no one can warn these talents to live in poverty and be happy. They can only slowly amend the system and gradually create an atmosphere of "loving and doing knowledge", and remember not to rush.
Perhaps, we should not be too pessimistic about China's "heartless" loss. After all, trade war is a matter that can lead to both defeats and injuries, and should not last too long. But at least we can no longer blindly follow the existing achievements, we should find more challenging goals, so as to derive a better scientific and technological ecological environment and driving force.