Samsung Elec becomes world’s 1st to use EUV at 7nm process


South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co. revealed a new 7 nanometer (nm) chip making technology using cutting-edge extreme ultraviolet (EUV), a breakthrough in chip making process that will make electronic devices faster, smarter and longer-lasting and bring impetus to the grooming of its foundry business.

The world’s largest chipmaker on Wednesday unveiled its latest chip making technology using EUV patterning technology along with other memory products at Samsung Tech Day 2018 at its Device Solutions America headquarters in Silicon Valley on Wednesday.

The company said it will be mass producing chips using its 7nm low power plus (LPP) process with extreme ultraviolet lithography technology, which the company has spent over a decade to develop.

With the introduction of the 7nm EUV, Samsung Electronics has made a great stride in its foundry business, becoming the world’s second foundry company to make chips using 7nm technology after Taiwan Semiconductor Co. (TSMC), and the world’s first to apply EUV patterning technology. TSMC beat Samsung in 7nm technology, already providing 7nm chips for Apple Inc.’s latest iPhone XS series. But the Taiwanese company uses multi-patterning process, not EUV technology, to create a layer on a wafer. None of the foundry companies had succeeded in producing chips using EUV technology before Samsung Electronics.

On Thursday, shares of Samsung Electronics closed down 0.23 percent at 44,050 won ($38.81) in Seoul trading.

“The 7LPP process represents a clear demonstration of the foundry business’ technology roadmap evolution, providing Samsung’s customers a direct path forward to 3 nm,” said the company in a statement on Wednesday. Before the introduction of the 7nm process, Samsung Electronics mainly delivered consignment chips using 10nm technology.

The 7nm technology will deliver up to a 40 percent increase in area efficiency, 50 percent lower power consumption and 20 percent performance increase over 10nm processes, which means faster smartphone processing and longer battery life.

The company did not reveal who would be the first customer to apply its 7nm chips but it aims to expand EUV lines by 2020. Currently, the company set up its EUV machines in the S3 fab in Hwaseong, South Korea. The company last year spun off its foundry business, establishing itself as a formidable rival against TSMC.

Along with the innovative 7nm EUV technology, the company introduced a wide range of new memory products on Wednesday. One of its main highlights was the world’s first 256-gigabyte (GB) 3DS RDIMM (registered dual in-line memory module), a server DRAM based on 3-dimensional stacking technology that has double the capacity and 30 percent higher energy efficiency than the preceding 128GB RDIMM.

Other new technologies included the 7.68-terabyte (TB) 4-bit-per-cell server solid state drive (SSD), sixth-generation V-NAND and second-generation Z-SSD.

It introduced new solutions like the key value SSD, smart SSD for AI machine learning, and NVmEOF SSD combining storage with high-speed network SSD. It also shared plans to ramp up its V-NAND and DRAM capacity at its fab lines in Pyeongtaek, Korea to meet the rising global demand.

The Samsung Tech Day event, now in its second year, was attended by more than 500 customers, partners and media officials, including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, who was invited to share his insights on the future of semiconductors. Experts from Microsoft, Xilinx, HP Enterprise and VMware also participated in a panel discussion.

By Kim Gyu-sik and Kim Hyo-jin

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