Samsung continues to show off its leadership position when it comes to chip production, as it is closely followed by rival TSMC from Taiwan. The South Korean company announced it has officially started the production of the second generation 7nm chips, which are made using ultraviolet extreme lithography (EUV).
Confused? To put it in plain terms, EUV rays create the circuit onto silicon. The process involves etching transistors to form processor circuits on a silicon wafer.
Usually, for chip lithography, companies use argon fluoride immersion but Samsung decided to use EUV instead in order to cut down on the number of masks that were needed to allow for stenciling the transistors on silicon in a particular pattern. Normally, the process would have required four of these masks but now, thanks to the EUV process, only one is needed.
This way not only do they cut down on time but also on the cost of producing the chips.
It has been a complicated road to get EUV to working scale, the process was always considered as an option before just that no one else figured it out how to make it happen on this scale. We don’t really know yet how Samsung managed to make it happen.
The chips are currently being built in Samsung’s S3 Fab and the EUV line is expected to be in service by 2020.
As far as any major customers go, we’ll have to wait on word from Samsung on that.