Alasir Enterprises
Main Page >  Articles >  Alpha: The History in Facts and Comments >  Press Releases  

Main Page
About Us
      Samsung Electronics Develops 0.18um Process Technology for 1GHz CPU

Seoul, South Korea -- October, 23, 1998 --  Samsung  Electronics  Co.,  Ltd  has
completed development of 0.18-micron CPU process technology, which will first be
utilized for CPU products that operate at speeds of one  gigahertz  and  higher.
Company officials say that a 1GHz Alpha prototype will be ready  in  the  second
half of next year.

Unlike process technology for memory devices, the  main  focus  of  CPU  process
technology is in improving operation speed. Samsung's new  0.18  micron  process
technology will improve the performance of the current Alpha  chips  (which  use
0.25-micron process technology) by 50% while at the same time reducing its  size
by 50%. Moreover, the next-generation Alpha chips will be able to  achieve  this
higher performance while operating at only 1.8 volts or less.

Through this latest technical achievement, Samsung has successfully  implemented
the following: (1) microscopic lithography and etching for 0.18-micron patterns,
(2) less than 30 Angstroem gate oxide, (3) (cobalt) salicide, (4) new  materials
with low-dielectric constant for interlayer dielectrics, and (5) six-level metal

Starting in  1999,  Samsung  Electronics  will  also  apply  the  latest  copper
interconnection technology to its new 0.18-micron Alpha CPUs, further  enhancing
performance and raising cost competitiveness.

Currently, the CPU industry as a whole is making the transition from 0.35-micron
to 0.25-micron process technology. Samsung will be among  the  leaders  when  it
introduces the 0.18-micron Alpha CPU  during  the  second  half  of  next  year.
Currently, no company has the mass production facilities for 0.18-micron process

In the future, Samsung plans  to  fully  utilize  its  new  0.18-micron  process
technology not only for Alpha CPUs, but also for ASICs, MDLs and SRAMs.

This past June, Samsung Electronics also established Alpha  Processor,  Inc.,  a
local US subsidiary,  to  strengthen  the  marketing  and  platform  development
portions of its Alpha CPU business. These  efforts  will  ensure  smooth  market
acceptance  of  leading  edge  Alpha  CPUs  that  utilize  this  next-generation
technology being announced today.


Features of CPU Process Technology

Important differences exist between the process technologies of  memory  devices
and CPUs. For memory devices, the main focus is always on  reducing  chip  size.
However, for CPUs, both chip size reduction and operating frequency  improvement
are crucial.

Significance of 1GHz CPUs

The current line of Alpha CPUs  are  the  world's  fastest,  operating  at  over
633MHz. The most common CPUs today operate at a maximum speed of around  450MHz.
For Alpha, the combination of this latest  advance  in  process  technology  and
Alpha's advanced design is expected to yield the world's  first  1GHz  CPU  next

30-Angstroem Gate Oxide

The performance of transistor is mainly determined  by  the  thickness  of  gate
dielectric. Samsung has developed extremely thin but reliable 30-Angstroem oxide
for gate dielectric in this 0.18-micron process technology.

Salicide Process

The salicide (self-aligned silicide) process  is  an  important  technology  for
implementing high performance transistors. As  the  transistor  size  decreases,
parasitic resistance of each terminal  -  source,  drain  and  gate  -  severely
degrades the transistor performance. The salicide process keeps  the  resistance
of each terminal at under 10 ohms.

New Materials with low-dielectric constant

In  general,  operation  speed  of  device  is  inversely  proportional  to  the
resistance and the capacitance of its signal line. Therefore, the resistance and
the  capacitance  of  interconnects  must  be  reduced  to  achieve  high  speed
operation. In Samsung's 0.18-micron process technology, the  new  material  with
low dielectric constant is used for isolating  layer  between  interconnects  to
reduce the capacitance.

Six-level Metal Interconnects

The number of metal layers is a crucial index which determines the chip size and
operating speed.  More  available  layers  of  metal  give  designers  increased
flexibility in obtaining the fastest signal paths. Chip size can  also  be  made
smaller due to the increased freedom of circuit  interconnection  with  multiple
metal layers. As part of engineering efforts being announced today, Samsung  has
developed an extensible six level metal interconnect technology.

In Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd, there are three main business units:

- Multimedia & Home Appliances

- Semiconductors

- Information & Telecommunications

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd, a  US  $13  billion  (1997)  flagship  company  of
Korean-based Samsung Group, is a world leader in electronics, with operations in
more than 50 countries and 75,000 employees worldwide.

For more information, please visit our website:
back to the article

Designed and maintained by Alasir Enterprises, 1999-2007
rhett from, walter from