Samsung doubling down on cutting-edge tech that literally cuts edges

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Last updated: March 16th, 2021 at 14:06 UTC+02:00

Samsung is planning to up its spending on extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography scanners over the course of this year, South Korean media reports, citing sources close to the company. EUV machines have been at the heart of Samsung’s foundry operations for only a little while, debuting with the commercial launch of its 7nm process node. though we’ve been hearing about them for years, by now.

Not undeservingly, mind you, seeing how the EUV is still widely touted as one of the most complex technologies humanity ever created. But you could say the same about Facebook, ergo such labels are pretty meaningless.

Will Samsung and TSMC end up in a bidding war over sci-fi cutters?

As for things that are the exact opposite of meaningless, Samsung’s foundry business is going to have one mean expense sheet for 2021. These EUV scanners have so far cost in the ballpark of $177 million per unit. Only one place in the world makes these – ASML based out of Veldhoven in the south of Netherlands.

What’s more, ASML is still getting the hang of things, so to speak. The process of making machines designed to assist in making miniature incisions into integrated circuitry is so complex that ASML is only managing to produce about 40 such units per year. Though our sample size isn’t too relevant just yet.

Either way, Samsung’s already polishing the spots where these shiny new pinnacles of human ingenuity will be sitting and churning out the most energy-efficient ICs the world has ever seen in the most deliberate and pinpoint-accurate fashion to date, sources claim. Except that with TSMC being at least equally as desperate to get its hands on them, it remains to be seen how the situation will develop. Or how much further will it continue escalating, to be exact.

Business EUVSamsung FoundryTSMC
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