Samsung is applying molybdenum in the metalization process of its Gen 9 V-NAND.

The company has brought in five units of Mo deposition machines from Lam Research for the process, sources said.

The South Korean tech giant is planning to bring in twenty additional units next year, they said.

Mo precursor is solid as opposed to tungsten fluoride (WF6) these machines are needed to heat them up to 600 Celsius to convert them into gas.

In Samsung’s Gen 9 V-NAND production, there is an application that uses tungsten and another that uses Mo. The company is using Mo instead of tungsten in oxide-nitride-oxide structure.

Mo is used to improve the resistivity within the transistors, which allows more layers to be stacked in a NAND.

The industry was reaching the limits of using tungsten to lower heights of the layers __ using Mo instead can reduce this by a further 30% to 40%. Using Mo also lowers the latency of the NAND.

Samsung’s decision to use Mo means the NAND material value chain will go through some changes.

It is procuring Mo from Entegris and Air Liquide while Merck has also turned in a sample to the chipmaker.

Besides Samsung, SK Hynix, Micron, and Kioxia are also looking to adopt Mo in their NAND production.

This means the market for WF6 will inevitably contract. Mo is priced as much as ten times WF6. Domestic semiconductor material firms SK Trichem, Hansol Chemical, Oceanbridge, and others are also developing Mo because of this.

Meanwhile, besides NAND, Mo precursors are also expected to used in DRAM and logic chips.