Samsung Electronics will invest in expanding foundry facilities for CMOS image sensors (CISs).
The company is drawing up a detailed plan to convert part of its production lines for DRAMs in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province to CIS lines.
In 2018, the company converted part of its DRAM line 11, which is based on 300-mm (12-inch) wafers, to image sensor production line S4.
This time, the company is expected to reduce capacity at DRAM line 13 in Hwaseong for CIS conversion.
A DRAM production line can be easily converted into an image sensor line because their processes are 80 percent identical. Some of the lithography, chemical vapor deposition (CVD), etching, and testing equipment used for DRAM production can be used for image sensor production.
Industry experts say that mass-production of image sensors at the converted lines can begin within this year after new equipment is installed, tested and stabilized. They predict that Samsung will spend at least one trillion won on this conversion project, although it requires less money than investment in fresh production facilities.
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