According to Korean media reports, sources said SK Siltron has started supplying wafers for new generation memory to Samsung Electronics, SK Hynix, etc., expecting to break the Japanese industry’s oligopoly and accelerate the self-production of Korean semiconductor materials. According to the report, SK Siltron has completed the development of polished wafers for 10nm fourth generation (1a) DRAM in June, and is expected to start supplying Samsung and SK Hynix in the second half of 2022.
The most widely used silicon wafers can be divided into polished and epitaxial wafers. Polished wafers are made of high-purity polysilicon processing and are used for DRAM and NAND Flash, while epitaxial wafers are made by vaporizing a single layer of silicon several microns (µm) thick onto a polished wafer and are mainly used for system semiconductors. It is reported that the wafers developed and mass-produced by SK Siltron are mainly used for the latest 10nm class DRAM.
Samsung and SK Hynix have introduced the Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) process for their fourth generation (1a) DRAM, a new generation exposure technology using equipment manufactured exclusively by ASML in the Netherlands. Since EUV has different characteristics from existing light wavelengths, different materials must be used, and the difficulty of developing 1a DRAM wafers is equally high.
It is understood that before SK Siltron joined the supply, only Japan Seiko and Shin-Etsu Chemical can supply, the second half of 2021 mass production of 1a DRAM Samsung, SK Hynix, previously only using wafers produced in Japan.
SK Hynix is planning to increase the proportion of 1a DRAM to about 1 in 4 of production by the end of 2022.
On the other hand, in 2021, SK Siltron’s 12-inch wafer market share of about 18%, ranking third in the industry, while Seiko’s market share of 30%, Shin-Etsu Chemical’s market share of 25%, the last 2 ~ 3 years SK Siltron is significantly narrowing the gap behind.