Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (Shanghai, China) has announced it has developed a 38nm NAND flash memory process and that it is the only foundry that stands ready to make flash memories to customer requirements.
The company also indicated that the 38nm process would be a starting point for move to sub-20nm NAND flash memories and to provision of a 3D-NAND flash memories.
The commodity NAND flash memory market is dominated by IDMs (integrated device manufacturers) such as Samsung, SK Hynix, Micron and Toshiba who are manufacturing 128Gbit capacity devices at sub-20nm minimum geometries. These companies are also toying with the idea of going to multilayered 3D-NAND production to increase component capacity while allowing a relaxation of the minimum planar geometry to about 40nm.
Toshiba manufactures in cooperation with SanDisk Corp. and it could be argued that these two have foundry, fabless customer arrangement, or that SanDisk is a joint-owner of manufacturing capacity.
SMIC stressed that the 38nm NAND flash process has been developed independently. The company said that the manufacturing process technology would be used to serve a growing demand for specialty memory from fabless customers in such applications as TV and set-top box consumer electronics, embedded products, mobile computing and IoT applications.
"SMIC has developed a series of specialty NOR flash platforms from 130nm down to 65nm in the past. Through the dedicated and methodical effort of SMIC's R&D team, we have achieved an important diversification in offering 38nm NAND," Shiuh-Wuu Lee, executive vice president of technology development at SMIC, in a statement. "This will serve as a solid foundation for us to move forward on the development of more advanced nodes such as 2x/1x-nm and 3D NAND flash process technology. SMIC is committed to drive advanced NAND flash for fabless customers that meet high quality standards."
Tzu-Yin Chiu, SMIC's CEO, said the establishment of a 38nm NAND flash memory process based entirely on internal engineering demonstrates the company's ability to establish a leading position in selective market segments.
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