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
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.
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
- 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: