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SK hynix rolls out first Gen.4 10-nm mobile DRAMs with EUV

SK hynix advances Samsung in development of new generation DRAM chips

July 12, 2021 - 14:46 By Song Su-hyun
LPDDR4 on 1anm process (SK hynix)

SK hynix, the world’s second-largest memory chip provider, said Monday it has started mass-production of the fourth-generation 8-gigabit low power double data rate 4 chips for mobile devices based on the 10-nanometer process using the extreme ultraviolet technology.

The announcement puts SK hynix ahead of its bigger rival Samsung Electronics in the race to develop next-generation DRAM chips.

And SK hynix has now become the world’s first firm to commercialize “1anm DRAMs,” which refers to the fourth generation of the 10-nm process technology, using EUV.  

The semiconductor industry classifies 10nm DRAM products by naming them after letters of the alphabet. The first three generations are called the 1x, 1y, and 1z, in that order.

The 1anm technology brings an improvement in productivity, and further boosts cost competitiveness, SK hynix said.

The company expects the 1anm technology to lead to a 25 percent increase in the number of DRAM chips produced from the same size of a wafer, compared with the previous 1znm node.

SK hynix anticipates that the 1anm DRAM will likely help alleviate the tight supply conditions amid the growing demand for DRAMs globally.

This is also the first time that SK hynix has adopted the EUV equipment in chip production in earnest, after it proved the stability of the cutting edge lithography technology through partial adoption for its 1ynm DRAM production.

As technology migration continues to ultra-micro levels, an increasing number of semiconductor companies are adopting the EUV equipment for the photo process where circuit patterns are drawn on the wafer surfaces.

Industry experts believe that a semiconductor company’s leadership in technology will depend on how it can fully take advantage of the EUV equipment.

SK hynix plans to use the EUV technology for production of all its 1anm DRAM products going forward.

“With improved productivity and cost competitiveness, the latest 1anm DRAM will not only help secure high profitability, but also solidify SK hynix’s status as a leading technology company with early adoption of the EUV lithography technology for mass production,” said Cho Young-mann, vice president at SK hynix.

The Korean chipmaker plans to provide the latest mobile DRAM products to smartphone manufacturers from the second half of 2021, enabling phone vendors to provide the fastest transfer rate of 4,266 Megabits per second and to reduce power consumer by 20 percent compared to current LPDDR4 products.