Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (KRX:005930) has announced today that they have started mass producing the industry’s first three-dimensional (3D) Vertical NAND (V-NAND) flash memory. This breaks through the current scaling limit for existing NAND flash technology. The new 3D V-NAND flash memory will be used for a wide variety of consumer electronics and enterprise applications, including NAND storage and SSDs.
“The new 3D V-NAND flash technology is the result of our employees’ years of efforts to push beyond conventional ways of thinking and pursue much more innovative approaches in overcoming limitations in the design of memory semiconductor technology,” stated Samsung Electronics SVP Jeong-Hyuk Choi. “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.”
The new V-NAND offers 128 gigabit density in a single chip that utilizes 3D Charge Trap Flash (CTF) technology and vertical interconnect process technology to link the 3D cell array. By using this technology, Samsung will be able to provide over twice the scaling of 20nm-class planar NAND flash.
In the past 40 years, convention flash memory has been using planar structures with floating gates. Since flash memory is now at a 10nm-class, there is a concern for scaling limits due to cell-to-cell interferences that may cause a trade-off in the reliability of NAND flash products. This led to added development time and costs. Samsung’s new V-NAND technology solves this problem by achieving new levels of innovation in circuits, structure, and the manufacturing process through the vertical stacking of planar cell layers for a new 3D structure. Samsung revamped their CTF architecture to create this new technology. Samsung’s CTF-based NAND flash architecture uses an electric charge that is temporarily placed in a holding chamber of non-conductive layer of flash that is composed of silicon nitride (SiN), instead of using a floating gate to prevent interference between neighboring cells.
Samsung said that their new 3D V-NAND technology shows an increase of a minimum of 2X to a maximum 10X high reliability. It also has twice the write performance over convention 10nm-class floating gate NAND flash memory. This technology can stack as many as 24 cell layers vertically using special etching technology that can connect the layers electronically by punching holes from the highest layer to the bottom.