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October 23, 1998 in Social Responsibility News

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_ gate oxide, (3) (cobalt) salicide , (4) new materials with low-dielectric constant for interlayer dielectrics, and (5) six-level metal interconnects.

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 technology.

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. Tthese 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 year.

30-Angstrom Gate Oxide
The performance of transistor is mainly determined by the thickness of gate dielectric. Samsung has developed extremely thin but reliable 30-Angstrom 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 availablef 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: http://www.samsungelectronics.com

Jenny Chung
Overseas PR
Corporate Communications
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.
Seoul HQ, Korea
Tel. 82-2-727-7692 / 7821
Fax. 82-2-727-7826

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