Tech: Weebit Nano gets promising results with its cost-cutting semiconductor technology
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Weebit Nano (ASX: WBT) had some positive test results for the market this morning, as it looks to deploy technology that can improve efficiencies in the manufacture of semiconductors.
The company has been busy running tests in recent months with its research partner Leti, the France-based research institute.
The goal has been to show that Weebit’s technology can reduce the number of “masks” required in semiconductor production, down from the industry average of seven-to-10.
Weebit said today that testing “confirmed it is possible to produce Weebit’s ReRam tech as an embedded memory using two, or possibly only one, additional mask”.
The update was good enough to give WBT shares a bounce in morning trade, although the stock remains well off its January 2019 highs above 80c.
In its update this morning, Weebit explained that the semiconductor manufacturing process required a series of wafers that were layered on top of one another and patterned through a series of masks.
At geometry levels below 28 nanometres (nm – one billionth of a meter), “the mask set required to produce a semiconductor device can cost millions of dollars”, the company said.
As a result, reducing the mask set to one or two (down from seven to 10) can “significantly benefit” costs and underlying profits.
The company said the early testing results indicated the technology’s potential to address one of the key problems in semiconductor composition — increased wafer malfunction during the “delicate” production process.
Weebit CEO Coby Hanoch said that in conversation with prospective customers, cutting mask rates and increasing the wafer yield had both been high on the agenda.
With testing confirming that Weebit arrays can use a smaller number of masks, “we will be able to save our customers millions of dollars, reduce manufacturing times and significantly decrease error risks in their production processes”.
When contacted for further details on the potential to convert its low-mask technology to revenue, and the time frame for commercialisation, a spokesperson for Weebit told Stockhead:
“Weebit is on track to transfer its silicon oxide ReRAM technology to a production fabrication by the end of next year.”
“In the meantime, Weebit is developing a customised memory module for a Tier-2 South Korean potential first customer, and is in advanced negotiations with other potential customers including XTX and partners.”
“The company expects to receive signed customer contracts over the course of the coming year.”
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