Samsung Electronics has opened a new era for the world’s first three-dimensional (3D) Vertical-NAND (V-NAND) flash memory chips. Samsung announced on August 6 that it has begun production of 3D V-NAND flash memory chips, which overcomes the limits of existing NAND flash technology. This new technology is considered to be the one that presents a paradigm to enable the manufacture of higher-density NAND flash memory storage products of over one terabyte, defying the limit of 20 nanometer (nm)-or less-class process technology.
The3D V-NAND products can store as much as 128Gb of data, making it the highest-capacity flash storage, which means 128 billion bytes of memory can be stored in a single fingernail-sized chip.
The world's No. 1 memory chip maker plans to expand the application range of 128 Gb memory chips, after embedding them in data centers and enterprise server systems rather than solid state drives (SSDs), which are used in place of hard disk drives (computer storage devices).
3D V-NAND flash memory is scheduled to be produced in Samsung's semiconductor plant in Hwaseong City by the end of this year. But from next year, it will be manufactured in Xi'an, China.
The most distinguished feature of the new V-NAND is improved performance and higher density through the manufacturing process of a vertical stacking of planar cell layers for a new 3D structure, different from the conventional 2D method based on planar structures. With the new vertical structure, Samsung can make higher density NAND flash memory chips.
In fact, the 128Gb NAND flash can provide more than twice the scaling of 20nm-class planar NAND flash. The new 3D V-NAND flash memory shows not only a 2-10 times increase in reliability, but also twice the write performance over conventional 10nm-class floating gate NAND flash memory. At the same time, the new technology consumes half the power of existing memory.
After nearly 10 years of research on 3D Vertical NAND, Samsung Electronics now retains more than 300 patent-pending 3D memory technologies worldwide. According to a report from research firm IHS iSuppli, the global NAND flash memory market is projected to reach US$30.8 billion in revenues by the end of 2016, increased from US$23.6 billion in 2013.
"Our company has an absolute advantage in the memory industry thanks to the new 3D V-NAND's production. We are planning to continually strengthen our competitive edge in the industry using our own differentiated technology," said a spokesperson for Samsung.