Intel and Micron have developed a 20nm process technology for Nand Flash storage.
The companies believe the process, announced on Thursday, will let them make the industry's smallest and densest Flash devices.
"The Intel-Micron joint venture is a model for the manufacturing industry as we continue to lead the industry in process technology and make quick transitions of our entire fab network to smaller and smaller lithographies," Tom Rampone, general manager of Intel's non-volatile memory solutions group, said in a statement.
The 20nm process refines and builds on the 25nm process which the two companies used to create an 8GB device in August, Intel said. Before that, the companies collaborated on multi-level cell (MLC) technology as part of a 34nm process.
Intel and Micron expect to begin mass producing an 8GB MLC device based on the technology in the second half of 2011, when they also hope to show samples of a 16GB device as well. The products will be manufactured by IM Flash Technologies, Intel said.
Samsung, the dominant player in Nand Flash, unveiled its own 20nm-node Nand Flash technology in April, 2010, but according to how the company defines production methods, this can be anywhere between 20nm and 29nm.
Intel believes its production process is more advanced than Samsung's.
"Most analysts have said that [Samsung's 20nm process] measures closest to 27nm. This meant [IM Flash Technologies] 25nm MLC was the finest Nand process in production, producing the smallest 64GB MLC Nand die and 64GB TBC Nand die in the industry in 2010," Markus Weingartner, a technology spokesman for Intel EMEA told ZDNet UK on Friday. "We are extending that leadership in 2011 to an actual 20nm Nand process, again yielding the industry's smallest 64GB MLC Nand die at 118mm."
Samsung had not responded to a request for comment at the time of writing.
In January, IBM and Samsung announced a research scheme where the two companies would collaborate on semiconductor materials and manufacturing processes to 20nm and beyond.
In April, Toshiba announced that it had developed a 24nm process for manufacturing Nand Flash with an embedded control ship to perform error correction code functions.