Samsung Electronics has started the development of its “Smart Sensing System,” which is designed to improve yields and transform the way its semiconductor fabs operate. The system is primarily designed to monitor and analyze the production process in real time and currently can automatically handle plasma uniformity. Eventually, Samsung plans to make its fabs fully automated and free of human labor by 2030, reports DigiTimes, citing ET News.

Samsung’s ultimate goal is to have fully unmanned semiconductor production facilities by 2030. Achieving this will require developing systems that can manage large amounts of data and optimize equipment performance automatically. The Smart Sensing System is an important part of this plan and is expected to play a crucial role in making these intelligent, fully automated fabs a reality. Samsung is currently investing tens of millions of won into projects like smart sensors, hoping that its investments will pay off in the long run. 

The smart sensors currently under development are designed to measure the uniformity of plasma on wafers. This is crucial as the outcomes of processes such as etching, deposition, and cleaning in semiconductor manufacturing are significantly influenced by plasma uniformity, which is why accurate measurement and management of this aspect are essential. 

The development of this system was a team effort involving collaboration with partners and academic institutions. An important feature of these new sensors is their tiny size: they can fit into existing fabs and will not need extra space, which is precious in cleanrooms. 

It is noteworthy that the sensors were designed and manufactured in South Korea. South Korean chipmakers like Samsung have traditionally relied heavily on foreign tools for such advanced processes. Developing its own smart sensing systems marks a significant change as it somewhat reduces this reliance, even though the majority of tools used by Samsung continue to be produced outside of the country. 

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