The US is imposing export controls on technologies that support the production of advanced semiconductors and turbines, protecting against their “nefarious” military and commercial use.
The innovations “are essential to the national security” of the US and meet the criteria for the protection, the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security said in a statement on Friday.
The agency creates and enforces export restrictions.
“Advancements that allow technologies like semiconductors and engines to operate faster, more efficiently, longer and in more severe conditions can be game changers in both the commercial and military context,” US Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security Alan Estevez said in the statement.
The move came as the US seeks to hinder the ability of China, which it sees as a strategic competitor, from developing advanced chipmaking technologies. It also follows passage this week of US legislation that includes about US$52 billion to boost domestic semiconductor research and development, and aims to bring more chipmaking back to the US.
“We are protecting the four technologies identified in today’s rule from nefarious end use by applying controls through a multilateral regime,” US Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration Thea Rozman Kendler said in the statement.
The statement highlighted three technologies targeted by the controls, including two substrates of ultra-wide bandgap semiconductors: gallium oxide and diamond.
Chips made with these materials can work under more severe conditions, such as at higher voltages or temperatures, and devices that use them have “significantly increased military potential,” it said.
The electronic computer-aided design software, made for the development of integrated circuits with gate-all-around field-effect transistor structure, is also targeted, it said.
The software is used by military and aerospace-defense industries to design complex integrated circuits. Gate-all-around field-effect transistor structure is key to designing technology that enables “faster, energy efficient, and more radiation-tolerant integrated circuits” that have military uses, including defense satellites, it said.
The third technology is pressure-gain combustion, which it said can be used in rockets and hypersonic systems.
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