Micron Technology, the American semiconductor company, has revealed plans to kick-start production of 1γ node DRAM (dynamic random-access memory) using extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography technology at its Hiroshima factory from 2026. The announcement, made at a press conference held on May 22, 2023, signalled the first instance of EUV lithography equipment being deployed for semiconductor manufacturing in Japan.
Micron’s CEO, Sanjay Mehrotra, projected a significant boost to the entire EUV ecosystem in Hiroshima through this initiative. Currently, the company is pursuing certification for the introduction of the EUV equipment, which is expected to be secured by 2024. The integration of the EUV equipment into the Hiroshima factory is slated for 2025.
Though the Hiroshima factory has already undergone an expansion in preparation for this shift, no further enlargement plans are currently on the table. Micron also intends to initiate EUV-applied 1γ DRAM manufacturing at its Taiwan factory in 2025, a year prior to its Hiroshima counterpart. However, specific details about the number of EUV equipment installations or whether the equipment is the latest high numerical aperture model were not disclosed.
Mehrotra addressed China’s recent ban on major infrastructure operators procuring Micron products, asserting that the company is currently reviewing the Chinese authorities’ measures and will continue supporting their customers.
In response to queries about Micron’s plans to downsize its workforce by approximately 10% in 2023, and whether this figure includes employees at the Hiroshima factory, Mehrotra highlighted the ongoing challenges within the semiconductor industry. He confirmed that the introduction of EUV technology at the Hiroshima factory will provide opportunities to secure talented human resources and create new employment opportunities essential to the EUV ecosystem.
Alongside these developments, Micron announced a new initiative aimed at nurturing talent within the semiconductor industry. Dubbed “US-Japan University Partnership for Workforce Advancement and Research & Development in Semiconductors (UPWARDS) for the Future”, the programme will back the cultivation of advanced semiconductor personnel and the promotion of new research activities. Eleven universities from Japan and the United States, including Boise State University, Purdue University, Hiroshima University, and Tokyo Institute of Technology, are partnering in this initiative.
Governor of Hiroshima Prefecture, Hidehiko Yuzaki, expressed optimism for the economic growth of the region, anticipating that Micron’s investment will facilitate continuous investment in the future. Similarly, Hironori Takagaki, the Mayor of Higashi-Hiroshima City, expects Micron’s technological advancement to further stimulate the gathering of semiconductor-related companies in Higashi-Hiroshima City.