It is reported that Micron Technology, an American memory manufacturer, has been accelerating development process of EUV (extreme ultraviolet) DRAM. Because Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix, which are the top two DRAM manufacturers in the world, have also been very proactive in development of EUV DRAM, competition for next-generation DRAM technology is expected to be much fiercer in the upcoming year.
According to the industry on Tuesday, it is reported that Micron Technology is looking to hire an engineer who will be responsible for development of EUV facilities through various job sites.
On one of its job postings, the company stated that the engineer will be responsible for development of EUV scanner and manage a new EUV system while discussing with ASML.
Selected engineer will be stationed in Boise, Idaho where the company’s headquarters is located in.
After Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix that are the two leading DRAM manufacturers in the world, the company is the third leading DRAM manufacturer that accounts for about 20% of the global market.
Early this year, it had to stop its Taiwan DRAM facility temporarily due to a power outage that lasted about an hour. However, it had started to gain attention by achieving satisfactory performance until the third quarter despite the global pandemic. It also held a sneak preview of the industry’s first 176-layer NAND flash memory.
Just like any other top DRAM manufacturer, the company manufacturers third generation 10nm-class 1z DRAMs. It is likely that the company will start manufacturing fourth generation 1a DRAMs sometime in the first half next year.
EUV technology is seen as the next-generation semiconductor manufacturing technology. Because its wavelength is 14 times shorter than that of ArF, it is able to accurately print small and complex circuits in just one go.
The technology is used widely for system semiconductors that are the “brain” of IT devices and it is expected that it will also be used for a portion of DRAM layers in the near future.
However, it is more difficult to implement the technology than the ArF technology and it requires much more equipment maintenance cost.
According to Micron Technology’s recent statement, it is likely that the company will not apply EUV technology to its next next-generation DRAM “1-Beta” considering cost and financial burden from production cost and technical limitations.
Executive Vice President DeBoer of Micron Technology stated that the company will apply EUV technology to “1-Delta (seventh generation 10nm-class DRAM)” once it analyzes various elements.
However, it can be seen that the company is continuing to put in efforts so that it can introduce EUV technology at a perfect timing while hiring experts in the technology and securing necessary technologies.
Once Micron starts mass-production of EUV DRAMs on full scale, competition between Samsung Electronics, SK Hynix, and Micron Technology related to EUV technology will only become even more intense.
Samsung Electronics, which is responsible for about 40% of the global DRAM market, already introduced EUV technology to its 1z DRAMs and is trying to separate itself from the other two companies as much as possible. The industry is also interested in how much EUV process will be used for Samsung Electronics’ 1a DRAMs that are expected to be available next year.
SK Hynix has also been very busy in order to apply EUV process to its 1a DRAMs next year. It is doing everything it can such as bringing in a new EUV system to its brand new DRAM plant M16, which is located in Icheon, in 2021 in order to introduce EUV technology to its production lines.
Staff Reporter Kang, Hyeryung | firstname.lastname@example.org