Samsung Electronics claims to be the first silicon vendor to start mass-producing 3D Nand flash, a memory technology that promises to boost the density of flash by stacking layers of memory cells on top of each other.
The new Samsung V-Nand technology offers a 128Gb (gigabit) density in a single chip and is expected to be used in a wide range of consumer electronics and enterprise applications, including embedded flash storage and solid-state drives (SSDs).
Conventional Nand flash chips are fabricated with the memory cells arranged in a two-dimensional grid array. To add capacity, the grid is extended to add more cells, a process helped by ever-shrinking process technologies. 3D Nand extends this approach by stacking layers of the cells on top of each other as well.
While many firms such as Micron Technology have been working on 3D Nand flash for some time, the technology has its challenges, such as how to connect up all the layers in the stack.
Samsung said it has met these by creating a vertical cell structure based on a 3D version of its charge trap flash (CTF) technology and by using a proprietary vertical interconnect process technology. The latter allows for as many as 24 cell layers vertically, with a special etching process that connects the layers electronically by punching holes from the highest layer to the bottom.
With these two innovations, Samsung claims that its V-Nand shows an increase of 2X up to 10X higher reliability, and also twice the write performance over existing 10nm Nand flash memory chips.
It is expected to "set the foundation for more advanced products" including one terabit (Tb) flash products, the firm claimed, while setting a faster pace for industry growth.
Samsung's senior vice president for flash products and technology Jeong-Hyuk Choi said: "Following the world's first mass production of 3D Vertical Nand, we will continue to introduce 3D V-Nand products with improved performance and higher density, which will contribute to further growth of the global memory industry."
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