Tokyo Electron has developed equipment to produce 400 layer 3D NAND
Hardware

Tokyo Electron has developed equipment to produce 400-layer 3D NAND flash memory

The production of 3D NAND memory, which uses a spatial arrangement with vertical connections between layers in chips, requires specialized equipment and has so far been entirely controlled by the American company Lam Research. The Japanese company Tokyo Electron has managed to develop a more productive method of manufacturing such chips, increasing the number of memory layers to 400 pieces.

    Image source: Tokyo Electron

Image source: Tokyo Electron

As explained Nikkei Asian ReviewIn June this year, Tokyo Electron unveiled its method of etching holes to form vertical interconnects in 3D NAND memory chips. The release of special devices will allow Tokyo Electron to challenge the American Lam Research and provide its customers with the opportunity to increase the productivity of memory production lines of this type. At least the new approach to hole etching improves productivity by two and a half times compared to the existing approach.

In addition, the technology developed by the Japanese company has less harmful effects on the environment. Tokyo Electron predicts that the company’s customers will be able to start producing 400-layer 3D NAND memories in two to three years. The 3D NAND layer etching device segment is now the largest in the market for silicon wafer etching devices. According to the Japanese provider’s forecasts, by 2027 the capacity of this segment will quadruple to $2 billion compared to the current year.

Tokyo Electron sold no more than $3.9 billion worth of etching equipment last fiscal year, accounting for about a quarter of its total sales. With the help of new technologies, the company expects to at least double its core sales. In the market for etching systems in the semiconductor industry, whose sales reached $20 billion last year, Tokyo Electron was content with second place and a share of 25%, while the American company Lam Research continued to be the leader, accounting for half of the segment controlled. Over the past five years, Tokyo Electron has increased its research and development spending by 77%, so the development of a new technology for etching holes in 3D NAND chips was a natural result of this investment policy. The company expects to spend a record $1.34 billion on research and development this year, even as profits are expected to fall. The company is already using artificial intelligence to develop new materials for production. By 2025, memory manufacturers will begin to actively invest in modernizing their businesses, and Tokyo Electron will have the opportunity to strengthen its market position at this stage.

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Dylan Harris

Dylan Harris is fascinated by tests and reviews of computer hardware.

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