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Conflict in Ukraine: Unexpected Pressure on Shortage of Semiconductors | War in Ukraine

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According to the agency Moody’s AnalyticsUkraine is% of neon on the planet, which is critical due to its importance as an input to the semiconductor production process”,”text”:”responsible for approximately 70% of the neon on the planet, which is critical because of its importance as an input in the production process of semiconductors”}}’>responsible for approximately 70% of the neon on the planet, which is critical due to its importance as an input to the semiconductor production process.

With the pandemic, bottlenecks in the supply chain have already caused their share of headaches for many industries dependent on small electronic chips, such as the automotive and technology sectors. Everything indicates that they are not at the end of their sentence.

Raw gas, a by-product of steel production, usually comes from Russia and is then purified in Ukraine by companies like Cryoin. The material is then used in Asia, Europe and North America in lasers for alignment and fine etching of semiconductor patterns.

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Cryoin, based in the port city of Odessa, temporarily ceased operations on the first day of the war, February 24. A lower global supply of this gas could consequently create new upheavals in the microchip supply chain.

the FinancialTimes reports that during the Russian invasion of Crimea in 2014, neon prices jumped by at least 600%.

A matter of months

Professor of electrical engineering at the École de technologie supérieure Frédéric Nabki believes that there will be no impacts in the very short termbut possibly medium and long term if the conflict were to continue in the coming months. The current semiconductor shortage was expected to resolve in 2023; So here is the geopolitical context getting involved.

For the sake of understanding, Mr. Nabki compares the use of purified neon gas in lasers to freon in refrigeration devices, that is, the gas must be changed on a service date.

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This can cause problems for commissioning new plants or maintaining currently used lasershe explains.

The risks of Taiwan domination

Among the experts in the field of semiconductors, many are concerned about China’s desire to proceed with the reunification of the island of Taiwan with it.

The majority of microchips that are in our iPads, toasters, cars and whatever else you want these days are made by the Taiwanese company TSMC, emphasizes Frédéric Nabki. In total, almost three quarters of semiconductors are manufactured in the country.

This is a new geopolitics that could affect the field of semiconductors for other reasonshe said, worried that China might be tempted to take military action in turn.

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