Every year, the chips inside our mobile phones become more powerful, use less power, and shrink in size. That helps each successive generation of mobile devices do more – better games, faster loading of apps and web pages, and less drain on the battery. Samsung is one of the world’s biggest mobile chip manufacturer, and has just unveiled its next-generation process for shrinking chips even smaller.
Samsung develops 10 nanometer FinFET semiconductor manufacturing technology
Samsung Electronics has unveiled the industry’s first 10 nm semiconductor technologies, following the recent news that it started the mass production of mobile processor chips using 14-nanometer FinFET technology. Today’s most advanced chips use a 14-nanometer process, and those chips are only just coming to market, such as Samsung’s latest Exynos chip. However, Samsung also manufactures chips for other companies, notably Apple (one of its biggest customers) – the A8 chip in iPhones is a 20 nm chip, but the A9 this year will likely transition to 14-nanometers.
This week, Kim Ki-nam, president of Samsung’s semiconductor business, delivered a speech entitled “Silicon Semiconductor Technology and Solution in the Data-driven Era”, at the 2015 International Solid-State Circuit Conference (ISSCC) in San Francisco – one of the top three semiconductor societies where leading experts around the world publish research papers on circuit design every year.
President Kim, who is a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), is in charge of the semiconductor business in Samsung Electronics.
In the keynote, Kim said “Thanks to the spread of various information technology devices, including the Internet of Things, we will usher in the data-driven era in the future. Through the innovation of silicon semiconductor technology, it is possible to improve the performance of semiconductor chips, which can process such data, and secure low-power solutions.”
3D semiconductor manufacturing (FinFET)
Additionally, Samsung Electronics unveiled its next-gen semiconductor technologies, including 10-nanometer “FinFET” technologies. For mobile phone memory, it presented 10 nm DRAM elements and 3D V-NAND technologies. 10 nanometer FinFET technology is smaller and more advanced than the 14-nanometer FinFET technology.
Samsung Electronics is still the only semiconductor manufacturer that can produce 14-nm-scale products for mobile devices.
It’s all rather technical, but basically it means that smartphone chips are about to become better, faster, and drain your battery less – and that has to be a good thing.