In addition to modern manufacturing processes, the company also designed a 17nm node.
As early as 2018, Samsung announced plans to design their 3nm node, in which the FinFET transistor structure will be replaced by GAAFET. The latter, Gate All Around FET, i.e. nanowire technology, is needed to preserve scalability, as FinFET operation is no longer optimal at a bandwidth of 3 nm.
The South Korean giant outlined its plans for new manufacturing technologies more concretely than before at the recent Samsung Foundry 2021 event. Two types of 3node nodes using GAAFET transistor structures are still being made, first 3GAE (3nm gate-all-around early) and later 3GAP (3nm gate-all-around plus). For 3GAE, mass production will begin in late 2022, but it will be used primarily in-house, meaning anyone outside the Samsung LSI division is unlikely to design a chip for it yet.
The really important development will be 3GAP (3 sqm gate-all-around plus), which will already be used by the partners, and mass production can start on it at the end of 2023.
In the background, the 2 nm process is already being developed, which will be a powerful development of 3 nm nodes in terms of technology, ie it will use a GAAFET transistor structure with Samsung’s own nano-based implementation. Its availability is still quite remote, currently mass production may be due in 2025 at the earliest.
In addition to advancing modern manufacturing technologies, Samsung sees that not only is there a need for this, so a 17nm node has also been announced. This can be useful for companies that are still building on a 28 nm bulk process. The big advantage of the latter is that it is cheap, but it is not very possible to move on from it, as the next leap would be the 14 nm FinFET node.
Samsung’s 17nm process offers a tricky solution by combining 14nm FEOL (Front-End-Of-Line) and 28nm BEOL (Back-End-Of-Line). This is useful because in this form existing customers can have access to more modern FinFET transistors, after all, they have to be applied on each layer due to the new FEOL, but other parts of the circuits will be designed with the older process.
This is really a golden mean in case the 14nm FinFET node is too expensive, but you should move away from the 28nm process. In addition, due to the features of BEOL, costs increase only on the FEOL side, and the new option is partially compatible with 28 sqm designs.
According to Samsung, the 17LVP (17nm Low Power Value) node offers 43% better transistor density, 39% more power and 49% better energy efficiency compared to the aging 28nm process.
Continuing this line, Samsung is also designing a 14nm LPU node specifically tailored for eMRAM and various microcontrollers.
The company will also increase its production capacity in the coming years. Currently, the S5 plant is focusing on expanding its production lines planned for EUV. In this respect, the first phase has already started, while the planned second phase will start in 2023 at the latest. Ultimately, this will mean that the capacity currently available will be approximately doubled by 2026, and there will certainly be applicants for this.
Source: Hírek és cikkek – PROHARDVER! by prohardver.hu.
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