SK Hynix faced problems this month during DRAM production due to the high-k material having a quality issue, TheElec has learned.
The zirconium (Zr) high-k material that was supplied by SK Trichem had impurities in them, sources said.
This caused some of SK Hynix’s production equipment at its DRAM fab to halt operation.
SK Hynix said it immediately conducted a cleaning process so there was no damage to its production output.
However, the South Korean memory chip giant is reviewing and asking for damages from SK Trichem from the halt in equipment and the need to swap out of components.
SK Hynix is also stopping procuring the material from SK Trichem until the issue is resolved.
SK Trichem said it plans to supply products with improved quality to SK Hynix near the end of the month.
The high-k material it had supplied that caused the issue had problems with purity which caused certain equipment to suffer from increased pressure, causing the halt, the chemical company said.
SK Trichem is still supplying materials used in other equipment on the same production line, the company added.
The Zr high-k material is a precursor that is deposited at the atomic level atop the capacitors of the DRAM.
As the capacitors determine the performance of the DRAM directly, the quality of the high-k material is also crucial.
UP Chemical and M Chemical are expected to supply the high-k material SK Hynix needs instead of SK Trichem for the time being.