NAND flash memory is used to store songs, movies and more in iPods, iPhones and a range of other consumer electronics goods.
The Intel-Micron joint venture, IM Flash Technologies, expects 50 percent of the chips at its factory in Lehi, Utah to be made using 34nm technology by the end of this year.
The nanometer measurement describes the size of the smallest transistors and other parts that can be manufactured on a single chip. There are about three to six atoms in a nanometer, depending on the type of atom, and there are a billion nanometers in a meter.
Chip makers such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC) and Intel currently mass produce chips using technology as tiny as 40nm to 45nm. Generally, the more transistors on a chip and the closer they are together, the faster the chip can perform tasks.
Aside from performance, companies are working to make chips smaller and less expensive because people want ever-smaller, cheaper devices.