Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Samsung 3D Process Pioneers Next Gen Semiconductor Devices

Samsung is leading the semiconductor industry with a two year leads in development of 3D NAND (see the article below).

The basic 3D process could be applied to other technologies beside flash such as DRAM memory or logic. It enable increasing the number of the transistors on each dies without the need to shrink the design rules below 20nm.

It is a key advantages since you do not need to develop the very difficult EUV photolitography.

More about 3D NAND in August 2013 blog - Samsung’s 1Tb SSD: 3D Vertical NAND

It make sense for Samsung to apply 3D Flash first to enterprise SSD, where the growth rate is +40%.

See also Applied Materials development work on advance patterning  - Applied Materials Develops Advanced Patterning Solution for Memory Devices

Insightful, timely, and accurate semiconductor consulting.
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An aerial view of Samsung's Hwaseong plant.
10 NOVEMBER 2014
Samsung Electronics is working to strengthen its position in the SSD market by increasing the profitability of its semiconductor memory business.
According to industry sources on Nov. 9, Samsung established a strategy to choose 3-bit V-NAND-based SSD as a new growth engine of its semiconductor memory business.
Since the productivity of 3-bit V-NAND is twice as high as 10 nm class planar NAND flash, the V-NAND is superior in price competitiveness, data processing speed, durability, and power efficiency. Thus, if the 3-bit V-NAND is featured in SSDs, it will increase the performance and price competitiveness of SSDs.
After its success in having a system to mass produce 3-bit V-NAND at the company's semiconductor plant in Hwaseong City near Seoul early last month, the Korean chip maker started to prepare for mass production at its 3D V-NAND production facility in Xian, China.
Considering that it normally takes six months to expand a mass production system to other plants, the industry anticipates that 3-bit V-NAND will be mass produced starting in May or April of next year.
The semiconductor plant in Hwaseong City produces mainly planar NAND flash for mobile devices, and thus it manufactures less than 100,000 V-NAND 300 mm wafers per month.
In contrast, the 3D V-NAND production facility in Xian, which commenced full operations in May, manufactures 300,000 to 400,000 sheets each month. However, the facility is considered to have capacity to produce more than 700,000 sheets.
Samsung aims to strengthen its dominant position in the market by increasing its share in the SSD market through the use of 3-bit V-NAND in SSDs.
The Korean company revealed that it will feature 3-bit V-NAND in SSDs starting next year at a conference call, following its announcement of results for the third quarter at the end of October.
Samsung's decision can be interpreted to mean that it intends to widen the gap with its rival companies in the global market by featuring 3-bit V-NAND in SSDs used in a data center environment and SSDs for PCs.
Market research firm IHS Technology recently reported that the world's largest memory chip maker will record US$3.277 billion in sales from SSDs in 2014, a 60 percent year-on-year gain. Its market share is expected to increase from 26 percent to 29 percent this year, which will put the firm in the top spot, followed by Sandisk with a 19 percent share, Intel (18 percent), Toshiba (9 percent), and Micron Technology (8 percent).
Currently, Samsung is the only company in the world that produces 3D V-NAND flash memory chips. The gap with rival companies in technology is generally acknowledged to be more than two years.
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