Toshiba is preparing to move on to new nodes in NAND flash memory manufacturing. In Q4 Intel will launch the first Solid State Drives with 28nm memory circuits, but Toshiba is aiming higher/smaller. It will invest 15 billion YEN (160 million USD) in building a test production line for NAND flash circuit with gates smaller than 25 nanometer.
Toshiba says that even though the jump from 28nm to ~20nm technology may look small on paper it is a full node transition that requires shorter wavelengths of ultraviolet lithography, which in turn requires new equipment and upgrades of plants.
The upgrade is planned for Toshiba’s Fab 4, which is residing right next to the site for the planned Fab 5.
Toshiba has invested in specially designed equipment from Holland and hopes to start mass production of circuit with ~20nm technology in 2012. This will open up for even bigger and cheaper SSDs.