Korean semiconductor companies are advancing not only in high-bandwidth memory (HBM) manufacturing technology but also in the domestic production of key process materials.

According to industry sources on May 28, the domestic semiconductor materials company ENF Technology has developed titanium etchant (Ti etchant) using its own technology and has started supplying this material to the world’s largest HBM manufacturer.

Titanium etchant is used in the production of through-silicon vias (TSVs), which are channels through which information travels within HBM. It removes unnecessary titanium from wafers.

Until now, titanium etchant was primarily supplied by a joint venture between a leading Japanese materials company and a Korean firm. However, with ENF’s successful development of this technology, the path to domestic production and material diversification has opened. ENF has started supplying its latest product to the manufacturing line of the 5th generation HBM (HBM3E) and plans to expand its supply to high-stacked chips.

In addition to ENF, there is active movement towards domestic production of key HBM materials. Soulbrain uniquely supplies a special slurry that removes unnecessary copper layers during the HBM process.

Duksan Hi-Metal supplies solder balls for bump manufacturing, which play a bridging role for data transmission within HBM, to memory companies. Memory companies are known to be actively supporting Duksan Hi-Metal’s technology development to counter the dominance of the world’s number one solder ball manufacturer, Senju Metal.

An industry insider explained, “Given that Korea holds a 90% market share in the HBM field, which is gaining attention in the era of artificial intelligence, there is a high possibility that the domestic ecosystem will expand,” adding, “It is expected that various collaborations will occur not only in materials but also in equipment and parts in the future.”