Micron this week officially said that it would equip its fab in Hiroshima, Japan, to produce DRAM chips on its 1γ (1-gamma) process technology, its first node to use extreme ultraviolet lithography, in 2025. The company will be the first chipmaker to use EUV for volume production in Japan and its fabs in Hiroshima and Taiwan will be its first sites to use the upcoming 1γ technology.

As the only major DRAM maker that has not adopted extreme ultraviolet lithography, Micron planned to start using it with its 1γ process (its 3rd Generation 10nm-class node) in 2024. But due to PC market slump and its spending cuts, the company had to delay the plan to 2025. Micron's 1γ process technology is set to use EUV for several layers, though it does not disclose how many layers will use it. 

What the company does say is that its 1γ node will enable the world's smallest memory cell, which is bold claim considering the fact that Micron cannot possibly know what its rivals are going to have in 2025.

Last year the 1-gamma technology was at the 'yield enablement' stage, which means that the company was testing samples of DRAMs extensive testing and quality control procedures. At this point, the company may implement innovative inspection to tools to identify defects and then introduce certain improvements to certain process steps (e.g., lithography, etching) to maximize yields.

“Micron’s Hiroshima operations have been central to the development and production of several industry-leading technologies for memory over the past decade,” Micron President and CEO Sanjay Mehrotra said. “We are proud to be the first to use EUV in Japan and to be developing and manufacturing 1-gamma at our Hiroshima fab.

To produce memory chips on its 1-gamma node at its Hiroshima fab, Micron needs to install ASML's Twinscan NXE scanners, which cost about $200 million per unit. To equip its fab with advanced tools, Micron secured ¥46.5 billion ($320 million) grant from the Japanese government last September. Meanwhile, Micron says it will invest ¥500 billion ($3.618 billion) in the technology 'over the next few years, with close support from the Japanese government.'

“Micron is the only company that manufactures DRAM in Japan and is critical to setting the pace for not only the global DRAM industry but our developing semiconductor ecosystem,” said Satoshi Nohara, METI Director-General of the Commerce and Information Policy Bureau. “We are pleased to see our collaboration with Micron take root in Hiroshima with state-of-the-art EUV to be introduced on Japanese soil. This will not only deepen and advance the talent and infrastructure of our semiconductor ecosystem, it will also unlock exponential growth and opportunity for our digital economy.”

Source: Micron

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  • meacupla - Friday, May 19, 2023 - link

    Micron D1α = 14nm | density 0.241Gb/mm² | die size 66.26mm² (DDR5-4800 16Gb chip)
    Micron D1β = ?nm | density "35% better density than D1α" | die size? (the claim is 15% better power efficiency compared to D1α, and is used in LPDDR5)
    Micron D1γ = ???

    I can't even find the relevant data for Micron D1β, but if it wants to compete for smallest die size in 2025, surely it has to be smaller than Samsung's 12nm?
  • saratoga4 - Friday, May 19, 2023 - link

    The Greek letter dram nodes do not correspond to specific logic nodes, but for what it's worth Samsung has branded all of their nodes since 2016 as "10nm equivalent".
  • Anymoore - Saturday, May 20, 2023 - link

    D1β is most likely 12 nm (0.0013 um2), if going by the 35% density increase. Samsung already had to change its capacitor dielectric for 12 nm, so it is getting hard to scale.
  • nandnandnand - Saturday, May 20, 2023 - link

    It's about time for 3D DRAM.
  • Duwelon - Saturday, May 20, 2023 - link

    I'd like to see Intel and AMD SKUs with HBM myself. No DIMM sockets, just a CPU socket with the RAM integrated ala Apple silicon. Intel would of course triple their already insane number of SKUs but it would be worth it. 14996K, 14964K, 14932K, etc.
  • nandnandnand - Sunday, May 21, 2023 - link

    I was referring to 3D DRAM on DIMMs: http://www.businesskorea.co.kr/news/articleView.ht... which is going to be the key to reducing cost per bit.

    But memory on package would also be great. It could take a long time before acceptable amounts are entirely on package for consumer CPUs/APUs. Minimum 8 GB, 16-32 GB preferred. Hopefully Intel's Adamantine can hit 8 GB in a consumer CPU sooner than say, 2030.

    It's possible to have RAM in the CPU as well as DIMM slots, or PCIe slots, if needed. If you don't need something smaller than Mini-ITX, you are probably going to get 2 memory slots, unless DIMM form factors go away. But we will see at least a DDR6 standard in desktops.
  • regsEx - Monday, May 22, 2023 - link

    Very unlikely now. After China ban Micron will likely bankrupt. They are losing probably way over 60% of revenue.
  • Reflex - Monday, May 22, 2023 - link

    China represents about 15% of Micron's revenue, however even that is misleading as the ban is for use in certain government and infrastructure spaces, not in all of the country and the vast majority of Micron's business in China is not even with Chinese companies, it's with western countries using Micron memory in computers they assemble in China, which are not subject to the ban.

    Until China clarifies what it applies to this means little, but even a worst case reading puts it at around 1-3% of the business per reports.
  • regsEx - Monday, May 22, 2023 - link

    If that applies to all manufacturing, hopefully, then it would be way over 60%. That is not just China market. That is any OEM manufacturing in China. That would be good. US should take a taste of its own medicine. And Micron should suffer no less than ZTE and Huawei.
  • Reflex - Wednesday, May 24, 2023 - link

    It does not apply to all markets or products not destined for the Chinese market. It's only Chinese infrastructure, such as telcomm. They have zero ability to tell third party companies what brand of SSD or memory they can use in their products, and are not attempting to do so as it would hasten the move of OEM's out of the country.

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