Samsung Electronics and TSMC are currently planning to develop 3nm process technology research and development. According to reports, at the IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC), Samsung engineers shared the manufacturing details of the upcoming 3nm GAE MBCFET chip.
GAAFET transistors (gate full ring field-effect transistors) come in two forms in terms of structure, and they are an upgraded version of the current FinFET. Samsung stated that the traditional GAAFET process uses three layers of nanowires to construct transistors, and the gate is relatively thin. In addition, the Samsung MBCFET chip process uses nanosheets to construct transistors. Presently, Samsung has already registered a trademark for MBCFET. Samsung said that both methods can achieve 3nm, but it depends on the specific design.
The idea of the first GAAFET transistor was proposed as early as 1988. This technology allows designers to precisely control performance and power consumption by adjusting the width of the transistor channel. Wider materials facilitate higher performance at high power; while thinner materials can reduce power consumption, but this affects the performance.
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Samsung demonstrated the principles of the 3GAE process in 2019. According to the company, compared with 7LPP technology, 3GAE can achieve a 30% performance improvement. It also achieves a 50% reduction in power, and an 80% increase in transistor density.
Samsung to mass-produce 3nm chips in 2022: Striving to overtake TSMC
Samsung and TSMC are the only two companies that have the capacity to make chips with the 5nm process. However, Samsung seems to be in the shadow of TSMC but it is putting up a good fight. According to recent reports, Samsung Electronics is struggling to catch up with TSMC. The South Korean manufacturing giant plans to mass-produce 3nm chips in 2022.
Samsung Electronics executive Park Jae-hong said at an event recently that the company has set a goal to mass-produce 3-nanometer chips in 2022. The executive revealed that the company is already developing preliminary design tools with major partners. Presently, it has invested $116 billion in its next-generation chip business. This includes manufacturing chips for external customers.
Samsung Electronics leader, Li Zaiyong, has previously revealed that the company plans to use the latest 3-nanometer gate-all-around (GAA) process technology that is being developed to manufacture cutting-edge chips and provide them to customers around the world.
As we all know, the company has commenced the mass production of 5nm chips and is developing a 4nm process. In the chip foundry business, Samsung Electronics currently ranks second. It is second only to TSMC which holds the top position with a 52% market share as of last year.
Regarding the competition between TSMC and Samsung Electronics, TSMC founder, Zhang Zhongmou, believes that Samsung Electronics is a very powerful opponent. TSMC currently has the advantage, but the war between TSMC and Samsung is definitely not over.