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Dai Nippon Printing to Spearhead Next-Gen Semiconductor Production for Rapidus

Aiming to fortify Japan's semiconductor supply chain, Dai Nippon Printing gears up for 2-nanometer photomask production
d 7912.TSE Mid and Small Cap 2000
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In an ambitious stride towards reinforcing Japan’s semiconductor industry, Dai Nippon Printing (DNP) has announced plans to commence mass production of photomasks for 2-nanometer (nm) semiconductors by fiscal 2027. This initiative, representing a substantial investment of approximately 50 billion yen ($330.3 million), marks a significant leap in the production of cutting-edge semiconductors domestically, addressing the global demand for more efficient and powerful microchips.

DNP is set to introduce two advanced pieces of equipment by fiscal 2024, pivotal for etching fine circuits onto photomasks. These photomasks play a crucial role in semiconductor manufacturing, acting as stencils through which light is projected to imprint circuit patterns onto silicon wafers. The production process is slated to take place at DNP’s Kamifukuoka facility in Saitama prefecture, which stands as the company’s principal manufacturing hub for photomasks.

Rapidus, a key player in this venture, is at the forefront of developing 2-nm logic semiconductors. This effort is part of a broader initiative aimed at advancing post-5G technology, research, and development (R&D), alongside establishing a robust manufacturing infrastructure for information and communication systems in Japan. The New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization has commissioned this project, with DNP playing a vital role as a subcontractor.

The move by DNP and Rapidus is complemented by efforts from other industry giants like Toppan Holdings, which is also venturing into the development of 2-nm photomasks in collaboration with IBM, targeting mass production by 2026. These concerted efforts underscore a national strategy to cultivate a self-reliant semiconductor ecosystem, bolstered by increased private investment and government support.

Furthermore, Taiyo Nippon Sanso is set to contribute to this initiative by constructing an industrial gas supply facility in Hokkaido, poised to serve Rapidus’ prototype line by 2025. This development aligns with Rapidus’ strategic plans to inaugurate a new manufacturing plant in Hokkaido, earmarked for the production of 2-nm logic semiconductors in 2027, thereby cementing Japan’s position as a pivotal hub in the global semiconductor supply chain.

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