Many companies have been racing to ever smaller feature sizes for electronics, and Samsung has just made a significant stride in the competition as it announces its EUV process node has begun wafer production. The various circuits and transistors in modern electronics are made by a process called photolithography, which involves light being used to etch away layers of silicon. The wavelength of the light directly impacts how small a feature can be etched, so to reach smaller sizes the various manufacturers have been working to shift from ultraviolet to so-called extreme ultraviolet, or EUV. According to Samsung its EUV process uses light with a wavelength of 13.5 nm, while the conventional argon fluoride (ArF) technology uses light with a wavelength of 193 nm and multi-patterning mask sets to achieve the feature sizes we have today. With EUV a single mask can be used while ArF would take four masks to make the same layer, so both time and money can be saved by using EUV here.
The new process Samsung will be making with this technology will be its 7LPP, or Low Power Plus, and compared to its current 10 nm FinFET process it will offer up to a 40% increase in area efficiency and either up to 20% higher performance or 50% lower power consumption.
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