Pellicles used in Arf and Krf processes in wafer fabrication are in short supply.
This is because more fabless companies in China are rising daily, while overall demand for the commodity has increased as chipmakers aim to develop new semiconductors.
In South Korea, only FST manufactures pellicles and the company is expecting its export to increase 50% this year compared to 2021.
Pellicles are used to protect the photomasks on the wafer from contamination during lithography.
This allows chipmakers to use their photomasks longer and thereby save on cost.
FST had mostly been a local supplier providing pellicles for chipmakers based in South Korea.
Last year, export accounted for 30% of its pellicle revenue but this year this is expected to increase to 40%.
An FST spokesperson said the rise in raw material prices was also causing the price rise, as well as mergers between Japanese pellicle makers that are slowing down the production of the commodity.
Earlier this year, 3M had to shut down its factory in Belgium to comply with local environment protection laws, which is likely the main contributor to raw material prices going up.
Many existing pellicle makers are also developing new pellicles aimed at advanced process nodes, decreasing their overall production output.