Micron announces that its latest "1-alpha" DRAM is ready to ship
Micron, an OEM also responsible for the brand Crucial, has debuted new process technology with which to make its DRAM products of the future. The company calls it the 1α node so as to denote its fourth-gen 10nm status, having exhausted the denominations 1x, 1y and 1z to date.
This new process, therefore, is Micron's latest development in memory that can have a half-pitch (or 50% of the distance between each cell per DRAM chip) of between 10 and 19nm. This high-density spec is achieved using lithography.
Micron has chosen to make its latest 1α DRAM using computational photolithography rather than the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) technique favored by other companies such as Samsung, asserting that this technique wasn't "ready for prime time" yet.
Apparently, EUV's 32nm-wavelength reach was too short for Micron's chosen photomasking method (by which the light "etches" the tiny patterns that form transistors into a silicon wafer through a quartz "template"), so its process engineers went for 193nm lithography instead.
This, as the company asserts, has resulted in chips of 8 to 16 gigabit (Gb) chips with a 40% boost in density compared to those from the preceding 1z node, as well as generally improved power-efficiency and reliability.
Micron asserts that the process will result in new LPDDR5 products with the "best-in-class LPDRAM performance" needed for premium mobile devices. It will also be applied to much of the rest of its upcoming product range, including the OEM's server-class LPDDR4 and DDR4 solutions.