Samsung Electronics Co. presented its super gap roadmap for the next-generation semiconductor technology at the Samsung Tech Day 2018 in Silicon Valley on October 17 (local time).
The company disclosed the next-generation memory solutions based on the state-of-the-art technologies, such as the 10-nanometer (nm) class DRAMs and the sixth-generation NAND flashes.
It also announced that its foundry division has completed all process technology development and has started wafer production for its revolutionary process node, the 7-nm Low Power Plus (7LPP), which is based on extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography technology.
Samsung declared it has built a system to compete with Taiwan Semiconductor Co. (TSMC), the world’s largest contract chipmaker.
Samsung unveiled a raft of semiconductor innovations under the theme of “Samsung＠The Heart of Everything” at the Tech Day, which was held at Samsung Device Solutions America's (DSA) building in Silicon Valley.
The event, now in its second year, was attended by more than 500 people, including officials from global information technology (IT) companies and media, analysts and tech power bloggers.
With the introduction of the 7nm EUV, Samsung Electronics has become the world’s second foundry company to make chips using 7nm technology after TSMC, and the world’s first to apply EUV patterning technology.
As the semiconductor fine process technology became more refined, fine circuit patterns have been realized by repeating the exposure process, or multi-patterning. However, semiconductors recently entered less than the 10-nm process, the conventional exposure process using argon fluoride (ArF) has reached the limit.
EUV is a light source of exposure apparatus that can replace ArF. It has less than one fourteenth of wavelength compared to conventional ArF. So, it is suitable to realize more elaborate semiconductor circuit patterns and allows to secure both semiconductors’ high performance and productivity at the same time by reducing multi-patterning complexity.
However, it is essential to develop completely new types of equipment and establish infrastructure in order to apply EUV to mass production. Samsung Electronics’ research and development in EUV began in the 2000s. The company continuously sought to secure technology safety and productivity through collaborative partnerships with industry-leading tool providers and ecosystem partners.
Consequently, Samsung Electronics developed its own mask inspection tool that performs early defect detection in EUV masks. The company is currently building an advanced line that can accommodate a large number of EUV exposure equipment, which is now much bigger and heavier, in its Hwaseong complex in South Korea. The new facility is expected to be completed by the end of next year.
Samsung Electronics aims to secure the world’s highest competitiveness in the foundry industry by developing 3-nm process by 2020. The industry expects that Samsung will become one of the two large foundry companies, along with TSMC, which had sales of 36.5 trillion won (US$32.14 billion) and over 50 percent market share last year, when the new line starts operation. Samsung ranked fourth in terms of foundry market share with 7 percent as of last year.
In addition, Samsung introduced a wide range of new memory products at the event. One of its main highlights was the world’s first 256-gigabyte (GB) 3DS registered dual in-line memory module (RDIMM), 7.68-terabyte (TB) 4-bit-per-cell server solid state drive (SSD) for business purpose, sixth-generation V-NAND and second-generation Z-SSD. 3DS RDIMM is a server DRAM based on 3-dimensional stacking technology that has double the capacity and 30 percent higher energy efficiency than the preceding 128GB RDIMM by using the industry’s largest 10-nm class 16Gb DDR4 DRAM.
The company also said it would provide new solutions like the key value SSD tailored to big data, smart SSD for artificial intelligence (AI) machine learning, and NVmEOF SSD combining storage with high-speed network SSD.
Meanwhile, Samsung Electronics invited Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak as a guest speaker and had a panel discussion with key experts from Microsoft, Xilinx, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and VMware at the Tech Day. The event was also attended by Choi Joo-sun, executive vice president of Samsung Electronics America, Jang Sung-jin, executive vice president of the DRAM development office, Kyung Kye-hyun, executive vice president of the Flash development office, Jung Jae-hun, executive vice president of the solution development office and Han Jin-man, senior vice president of Memory Product Planning & Application Engineering.
Samsung Electronics will hold a foundry form for European customers and partners in Munich, Germany, on the 18th (local time) after the U.S., China, South Korea and Japan and unveil its advanced process roadmap, including the 7-nm process.