SK Hynix initiated testing of domestically procured high-purity hydrogen fluoride in order to deal with Japan’s semiconductor material export restrictions. South Korean semiconductor firms are trying to diversify their supply sources to circumvent Japan's export curbs.
The hydrogen fluoride that is being tested by SK Hynix is supplied by SoulBrain, a Korean company that is producing the chemical by importing raw materials from China. SK Hynix has used hydrogen fluoride SoulBrain imported from Japan. Samsung Electronics is already using domestically procured high-purity hydrogen fluoride in some of its semiconductor manufacturing processes.
The semiconductor manufacturers are considering importing the chemical from Russia as well. Japan’s export restrictions cover photoresists, hydrogen fluoride and polyimide. Among them, hydrogen fluoride from Japan accounts for 43.9 percent of South Korea’s total hydrogen fluoride imports, and South Korea’s dependence on Japan is close to 100 percent when it comes to high-purity hydrogen fluoride for use in semiconductor micro fabrication.
Samsung Electronics, in the meantime, recently placed large-scale orders in Xian, China and Texas, Austin to be supplied with high-purity hydrogen fluoride.