Samsung Unveils Ambitious Silicon Plans At U.S. Foundry Forum

Samsung took to the stage at its annual Samsung Foundry Forum 2018 USA event to take the wraps off plans for the development of its next-generation chipsets. Chief among those is a roadmap for getting the process technology for some of its chips down to three nanometers. That all starts with 7nm Low Power Plus (LPP), which is a semiconductor process technology using an extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography solution. IPs are under development and will be completed in 2019, Samsung says, while production will start in the second half of 2018. Stemming from that, the company plans to move to 5nm Low Power Early (LPE) solutions and then to 4nm LPP and LPE processes. Samsung plans for that to be the last generation of its use of the FinFET process. From there, Samsung expects to create a new process, which it has dubbed Multi-Bridge-Channel FET (MBCFET). The process will be utilized to scale down to 3nm process nodes, which adopt Gate-All-Around (GAA) architecture.

Through those innovations and others, Samsung Foundry is hoping to address connected devices of the future and high-performance computing solutions. On the latter front, the company hopes to begin with 7nm Low Power Plus to push hyper-scale data centers and A.I. capabilities to the next level. For the former, the company is thinking not only of low-power microcontrollers and connected platforms in general but is also considering the incoming wave of autonomous vehicles operating on 5G and vehicle-to-everything communications. So there likely wouldn't be any surprise if some of these platforms end up utilized in its own "Skateboard" platform or any number of its partners' platforms for self-driving automobiles. It hopes to build out full-featured turnkey systems that further cement its position in the industry and a wider portfolio of products offerings for use in the billions of devices expected to make up self-driving cars, the IoT, and other consumer electronics.

The unsurprising roadmap laid out for the Korean tech giant has already been detailed to a degree earlier this year. 7nm processes are still viewed with a degree of skepticism from some industry leaders. So, while it will probably take quite some time to accomplish, aiming to scale far beyond that before production has even begun is an ambitious goal on Samsung's part, to say the least.

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