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Samsung Foundry Tapes Out First 3nm Test Chip

Samsung
(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung Foundry and Synopsys have announced that Samsung has taped out its first test chip using its 3GAA (3 nm) fabrication technology that features gate all-around (GAA) transistors. The test chips was designed using Synopsys' Fusion Design Platform electronic design automation (EDA) tools. 

Samsung's 3GAA manufacturing process uses brand-new gate all-around (GAA) transistors that promise to enable lower leakage, higher performance, and increased transistor density when compared to the company's existing nodes. One of the benefits provided by GAA transistors is ability to tune their performance and power consumption using nano-sheet-width control.  

But to take advantage of Samsung's 3GAA technology one needs to use all-new EDA tools and IP, which is when Synopsys comes into play. The new software from Synopsys takes into account new complex placement methodologies, floorplan rules, routing rules and increased variability at new geometries. 

"The GAA transistor structure marks a key inflection point in process-technology advancement that is critical in maintaining the scaling trajectories needed for the next wave of hyperscale innovation," said Shankar Krishnamoorthy, general manager of the Digital Design Group at Synopsys. 

Using Synopsys' Fusion Design Platform EDA software as well as other suites from the company, Samsung Foundry's engineers have developed a complex, multi-subsystem SoC containing crucial IP commonly used for high-volume SoCs. It is unclear whether the test chip used IP designed by Samsung in-house or Synopsys, though in any case a successful tape out means that 3GAA is ready for designs.  

The first company to use the new node will likely be Samsung's own LSI division that designs SoCs for smartphones, PCs, televisions, and other products by Samsung. 

"Our latest, advanced 3nm GAA process has benefited from our extensive collaboration with Synopsys, and the accelerated readiness of the Fusion Design Platform to enable the efficient realization of the 3nm process' promise, is a testament to the importance and benefit of these key alliances," Sangyun Kim, Vice President of Foundry Design Technology Team at Samsung Electronics.