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Samsung gears up for 5-nano chip production

Apr 17,2019
Samsung Electronics announced Tuesday that it is ready to manufacturer 5-nanometer circuits and receive client samples.

The achievement is the latest in the company’s drive to develop its foundry business and manufacture semiconductors, mostly non-memory chips, for fabless manufacturers.

Fabless manufacturers make products without their own factories, farming out the actual production to contractors.

The breakthrough by Samsung Electronics takes it to the vanguard of the chip market. Currently, 10-nanometer products dominate, the measure indicating the width of the circuits through which electricity travels.

Last year, the company developed 7-nanometer circuit technology and started manufacturing relevant products this year.

Samsung added Tuesday that it plans to release the first batch of mass-produced 7-nanometer products this month. The company claims it will be the first in the industry to do so.

Narrower circuits improve performance and lower power consumption. According to Samsung, 5-nanometer circuits are 20 percent more energy efficient and perform 10 percent better than the 7-nanometer product.

In making 7-nanometer and 5-nanometer products, Samsung utilizes extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography technology to print circuits on silicon wafers, the base material for semiconductors.

Because the 7-nanometer and 5-naometer generations share basic technologies, customers can reuse intellectual property from one generation to the next.

That will shorten development time and lower costs.

The company is utilizing EUV-based technologies at its factory in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi.

“Samsung’s EUV-based advanced nodes are expected to be in high demand for new and innovative applications, such as 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), high-performance computing (HPC) and automotive,” said Charlie Bae, executive vice president of foundry business at Samsung Electronics.

“Leveraging our robust technology competitiveness, including our leadership in EUV lithography, Samsung will continue to deliver the most advanced technologies and solutions.”

According to TrendForce, Samsung was the No. 2 foundry company in the first quarter behind Taiwan’s TSMC. But its share in the global market was still much smaller, at 19.1 percent compared to TSMC’s 48.1 percent.


BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]