Lam Research Corporation Announces New 3D NAND Memory Cells
A look at Lam’s chamber count is helpful because it lays the foundation for future services revenue. CEO Bettinger, however, politely declines to share the company’s chamber count for the full year. Lam has several product lines, including a “3-D” form of NAND memory cells. The 3-D trend invites complexity, but Bettinger remains firm in his refusal to share the company’s chamber count.
Lam Research is a company that makes deposition equipment. Its success has been tied to its ability to create innovative processes and technologies. Its savvy management team consists of a team of industry leaders. The team includes David Lam, who is the chief scientist of the company and recruited Roger Emerick to become its president. It also includes Dennis Key, who began as vice president of domestic sales and then assumed leadership of the company’s global sales operation in 1992. Way Tu, a senior member of the Lam management team, is the head of the company’s Asian operations.
In the early 1990s, Lam focused on small markets in Asia and the Pacific Rim. It also opened customer support centers around the world. By the early 1990s, Lam reaped nearly half of its revenue from overseas sales. It also entered a partnership with Sumitomo Metal Industries, Ltd. to develop a product line called Rainbow etch in Japan. The partnership grew, and in 1991, the company opened a technology center near Tokyo.
Lam Research Corporation announced new solutions for increasing chip memory density, which is necessary for applications like artificial intelligence and machine learning. Two new technologies that help companies achieve this goal are VECTOR(r) DT backside deposition and EOS(r) GS wet etch. Both methods allow manufacturers to perform metal and dielectric deposition on the same wafers.
Process variability in 3D NAND memory cells
3D NAND memory cells are based on alternating layers of thin films. As with planar NAND, the pitch of 3D NAND memory cells is determined by the thickness of each film. Process variability, or the degree of variation between adjacent layers, must be minimized to ensure the highest device performance and product yield. For this reason, precise control of layer-to-layer deposition is vital. Commercial 3D NAND products typically feature between 32 and 48 pairs of stacked film layers. Next-generation products are expected to feature as many as 60 pairs of stacked films.
3D NAND technology is becoming a mainstream memory technology that is changing the conventional planar scaling paradigm. It allows for higher levels of integrity, performance and cost per bit. It also enables significant improvements in stress management and forming HAR features.
Future services revenue
The company’s deferred revenue increased to $1,458 million at the end of the December 2021 quarter, excluding shipments to its Japanese customers. These shipments are classified as inventory at cost until they are accepted by the customers. Future services revenue from these shipments amounted to $328 million as of December 26, 2021, and $331 million as of September 26, 2021. The company’s future services revenue includes sales of new, leading-edge equipment in deposition, etch, and clean markets.
The company’s new products and services address the growing needs of memory manufacturers, especially in 3D NAND memory. The new systems are targeted at key steps in the 3D NAND memory cell formation process, including stack deposition and vertical channel etching. The new systems are also capable of tungsten wordline deposition.
Lam Research Corporation designs, manufactures, and markets wafer fabrication equipment for the semiconductor industry. Its solutions help customers create chips and electronic devices that are 1,000 times smaller than a grain of sand. Its product families include ALTUS, SABRE, Flex, Versys Metal, and DV-Prime. The company’s customers include semiconductor memory, foundry, and integrated device manufacturers.