SK Enpulse, the chip material subsidiary of SK Hynix affiliate SKC, succeeded in developing a blank mask last year and has given samples to potential customers, TheElec has learned.
S&S Tech has been the sole vendor of blank masks within South Korea. SK Enpluse has aimed to develop a high-end blank mask and its entry may disrupt the local supply chain.
However, testing of the sample with potential customers may take a long time.
Blank masks are used to make photo masks used in the lithography process where the circuit patterns of chips are drawn on the wafer.
This means the quality of the blank mask is crucial and customers usually take a long time to verify them.
They also usually keep their existing supplier to keep the reliability of the masks.
Despite the downturn of the global chip market, demand for blank masks continues to show an uptick.
This is because fabless chip companies are using this time to develop new chips and a lot of blank masks are used in this process.
SK Enpulse is expected to aim to win over affiliate SK Hynix. SK Enpluse successfully developed its own CMP pad and won SK Hynix as a customer.
SK Hynix has previously replied on pads from Dupont prior to selecting SK Enpluse as a vendor.