LONDON – Samsung's foundry operation is preparing to run test-chip shuttles for customers beginning in the second half of 2011, according to Ana Hunter, vice president of foundry services.
"Our 20-nm technology will be a full node shrink from 28-nm, enabling the approximate 50 percent area scaling that the industry has come to expect with each technology generation," Hunter also said in a posting on the company's website.
The 20-nm process is based on a planar bulk CMOS process with "gate-last" high-K metal gate (HKMG) and will be manufacturable with 193-nm immersion optical lithography on a limited minimum pitch. The minimum pitch is not shrunk to the maximum to reduce the need for time-consuming, costly double-patterning. Hunter predicts a 30 percent improvement in performance over 28LP at the same standby current.
Hunter does not talk about high-performance versus low-power variants merely stating that the Samsung process is suitable for making chips for both types of application; including smartphones, tablets, other portable consumer electronics as well as IT communications infrastructure.
The posting is apparently designed to try and drum up business for those test-chip wafers as Hunter concludes by asking: "Do you have plans to start a 20-nm design in 2011? If so, please leave a comment below with your thoughts."
Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Seoul, South Korea) is a vertically integrated manufacturer of consumer electronics but that has helped it become the world's second largest manufacturer of semiconductor chips behind Intel Corp. Samsung is now trying to establish itself in the foundry market where it must compete against Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd., which controls approximately 50 percent of a $26 billion. Other leading foundries include United Microelectronics Corp. (Hsinchu, Taiwan) and Globalfoundries Inc. (Sunnyvale, Calif.).
Related links and articles:
What to expect at 20-nm
Samsung lags in foundry rankings
Report: TSMC wins key 40-, 28-nm deals
Intel: Foundry business is in oversuppy trouble
Is Apple switching foundry partners?
Chipmakers 2011 capabilities ranked