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SanDisk & Toshiba ready with 32nm 3-bits-per-cell NAND flash production

12 February 2009 | By Mark Osborne | News > Wafer Processing

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SanDisk 32nm 4x bit per cell NAND Flash deviceA year after announcing the start of ‘mass’ production of the first 3-bits-per-cell NAND flash device in the March/April 2008 timeframe using its 56nm process technology, manufacturing partners SanDisk and Toshiba have announced the development of its latest All Bit-Line (ABL) architecture and 32nm process technology using 32nm geometries.

However, the partners' 43nm two-bit-per cell technology had lower manufacturing costs than 56nm three-bit-per-cell, so little ‘mass’ production actually occurred. SanDisk said at the time that 3-bits-per-cell production would really ramp into volume production sometime in 2009.

In SanDisk’s latest analyst conference call held at the beginning of February 2009, executives noted that the conversion to 32nm production would begin in mid-2009. Importantly, both 4x and 3x cells will be ramped.

Eli Harari, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of SanDisk“Our 32 gigabyte x3, a 32nm NAND chip, is 33% smaller than a competitor's 32 gigabyte MLC chip with their 34 nm technology,” commented Eli Harari, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of SanDisk Corporation, during the recent conference call. “That means that the extra bit per cell is equivalent to a half-generation cost advantage, which ultimately would translate to significantly more favorable product margins.”

SanDisk has now revealed that the advances in 32nm process technologies and in circuit design significantly contributed to a 113mm2 die size.

193nm ArF immersion lithography was touted as a key technology, which the partners had adopted at the last technology node migration.

“32nm technology builds upon SanDisk’s successful deployment of immersion lithography in 43nm to implement spacer process without incurring additional investment in capital-intensive lithography equipment,” said Dr. Klaus Schuegraf, Vice President, Memory Technology, SanDisk. “SanDisk brings its industry-leading 64-bit NAND string length to 32nm, while compensating for bit-to-bit interference effects with innovative programming algorithms and system design.”

In SanDisk’s latest announcement the company said that 32nm production ramp of its 32Gb X3 device would occur in the second half of 2009.

32Gb X3 device

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