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Samsung embarks on 3D V-NAND mass production

Posted: 07 Aug 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:V-NAND? 3D? SSDs?

Samsung Electronics announced that it has started to mass produce 3D vertical NAND (V-NAND) flash memory that is designed for a wide range of consumer electronics and enterprise applications, including embedded NAND storage and solid state drives (SSDs).

The 3D V-NAND offers 128GB density in a single chip, utilising the company's proprietary vertical cell structure based on 3D Charge Trap Flash (CTF) technology and vertical interconnect process technology to link the 3D cell array. By applying both of these technologies, Samsung's 3D V-NAND is able to provide over twice the scaling of 20nm-class planar NAND flash.

Conventional flash memory has traditionally been based on planar structures that make use of floating gates. As manufacturing process technology has proceeded to the 10nm-class and beyond, concern for a scaling limit arose, due to the cell-to-cell interference that causes a trade-off in the reliability of NAND flash products. V-NAND addresses this challenge through the development of a vertical stacking of planar cell layers for a new 3D structure.

Samsung 3D V-NAND offers 128GB density in a single chip

Figure 1: 3D V-NAND offers 128GB density in a single chip.

To do this, Samsung revamped its CTF architecture, wherein an electric charge is temporarily placed in a holding chamber of the non-conductive layer of flash that is composed of silicon nitride (SiN), instead of using a floating gate to prevent interference between neighbouring cells. A 3D CTF enabled an increase of a minimum of 2X to a maximum 10X higher reliability as well as twice the write performance over conventional 10nm-class floating gate NAND flash memory.

Another technological highlight of the V-NAND is that Samsung's proprietary vertical interconnect process technology can stack as many as 24 cell layers vertically, using special etching technology that connects the layers electronically by punching holes from the highest layer to the bottom. With the new vertical structure, Samsung can enable higher density NAND flash memory products by increasing the 3D cell layers without having to continue planar scaling, which has become incredibly difficult to achieve.

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