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Samsung: A New Technology Era in 2010
Dec 13, 2006
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Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., a world leader in advanced semiconductor technology solutions, yesterday shared its vision of a new industry-fusing technology era that will offer tremendous global opportunities for expanded use of three-dimensional (3D) silicon-based technologies.

The industry is at the doorstep of the largest shift in the semiconductor industry ever, one that will dwarf the PC and even the consumer electronics eras, according to Dr. Chang-Gyu Hwang, president and CEO of Samsung Electronics’ Semiconductor Business, speaking at the plenary session of the 2006 International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM).

In his keynote speech, New Paradigms in the Silicon Industry, Dr. Hwang told a crowd of device technology professionals at the Hilton San Francisco Hotel, “The approaching era of electronics technology advancement – the Fusion Era – will be massive in scope, encompassing the fields of information technology (IT), bio-technology (BT) and nanotechnology (NT) and will create boundless opportunities for new growth to the semiconductor industry.”

Dr. Hwang described the current mobile and digital consumer industry as having an annual device volume of more than 2 billion units annually. In the approaching Fusion Era, market demand will soar to a level that could match the global population of 6.5-billion unit, with multiple applications affecting almost everyone on earth.

Starting in 2010…

While demand for semiconductor technology has been surging since 2000 for mobile, digital consumer and entertainment applications, Dr. Hwang enumerated reasons for a new, massive and prolonged surge that Samsung anticipates will begin around 2010 and go well beyond. Bio-tech, health care, robotics, aerospace, solar cell, and environment-friendly R&D fields are expected to combine in critical ways to herald the Fusion Technology Era. Semiconductor advancements will play a pivotal role in enabling this new trend, Dr. Hwang said.

“Unlike the paradigm shift from the personal computer to mobile and digital consumer applications, the introduction of massive-scale fusion technology – which represents the organic convergence of IT, BT and NT, will bring together a wide range of technology-related professions as the foundation for a new technology frontier,” Dr. Hwang said. “This historic new frontier will change the way we develop and harness semiconductor technologies in substantially improving the level of day-to-day convenience for consumers.”

Commencement of the Fusion Era depends on the successful development of high-density, ultra-small, multi-featured semiconductor chips and multi-faceted, cross-industry solutions. To enter the new era, Dr. Hwang said it is essential to first overcome today’s limits in nanotechnology.

In blending critical aspects of key semiconductor technologies for a sweeping technology migration, Dr. Hwang also cautioned that multiple hurdles need to be overcome, such as moving beyond today’s silicon patterning limitations, ensuring controllability of limited sums of electrons, and minimizing inter-cell noise that has caused bottlenecks in two-dimensional structures.

Sub-25 nm Barrier Can Be Broken

Today, sub-25 nanometers is generally considered the limit to maximizing the efficiency of the silicon base. Dr. Hwang said that removing this roadblock in ultra-fine process technology can be accomplished with alternate technologies, such as 3D structure and 3D stacking.  Two Samsung papers at the IEDM 2006 technology sessions describe advancements enabling processes for 5 nm wires.

Along with accelerated research on baseline technologies, Dr. Hwang said Samsung continues to expend considerable resources on development of fusion semiconductors.

To launch the Fusion Era, high-density semiconductors on a terabit scale are expected by 2010, moving later to higher densities on the peta scale, Dr. Hwang said.

The core element needed to usher in the new age will be a complex integration of different types of devices such as memory, logic, sensor, processor and software, together with new materials, and advanced die stack technologies, all based on 3D silicon technology, he added.

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