Samsung's new chip-making method is now in production and will help ensure that phones and gadgets will be faster and more energy-efficient.
Samsung today announced the start of production of seven-nanometer (nm) chips with its Low Power Plus (LPP) process using extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV), a technique that has been in development for decades, but until now hasn't been used in production.
Samsung's 7nm LPP EUV process will be used to make Qualcomm's future Snapdragon 5G mobile chipsets, the companies confirmed earlier this year as Samsung began building its new $6bn EUV line for producing 7nm chips at its Hwaseong plant, the S3 Fab.
Samsung says customers will be able use the process to build chips for 5G, artificial intelligence, hyper-scale data centers, IoT, automotive, and networking.
A major benefit to customers from this way of fabricating wafers is that it will allow them to launch new products faster using a cheaper chip-making process, according to Samsung.
SEE: IT pro's guide to the evolution and impact of 5G technology (free PDF)
The faster production is enabled by using EUV lithography for producing patterns on silicon wafers.
EUV is capable of producing 13.5nm wavelength light and allows Samsung to build wafer layers with a single step rather than multiple exposures required with conventional argon-fluoride immersion technologies that only reach 193nm wavelengths.
The 7nm manufacturing technology, which Samsung calls 7LPP, allows up to a 40 percent increase in area efficiency compared with its 10nm process, as well as 20 percent higher performance and 50 percent lower power consumption.
Samsung expects to have a have new EUV line available by 2020 for customers that need to mass-produce next-generation chip designs.
Samsung chip rival Taiwan Semiconductor Company, TSMC, already has 7nm technology but uses a different technique. It built Apple's X12 Bionic 7nm chip for the iPhone XS and XS Max, the mobile industry's first.
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It's the first manufacturer to use extreme ultraviolet -- chipmaking technology promised for decades but difficult to roll out in factories.