Samsung Electronics has established a roadmap for the DRAM manufacturing following beyond the 18nm process, and it seems that the pace of the DRAM scaling is slowing down.
For the previous 40nm process, the linewidth was greatly reduced by 5 to 10 nanometers, while the 20nm processes brough a reduction of juts 2-3nm to the linewidth. Obviously, the technical barriers aare becoming higher and higher.
According to reports from South Korea, Samsung Electronics is currently developing 17nm DRAM (Armstrong). These new chips will succeed the 18nm DRAMs (Pascal) that have been mass-produced by Samsung since last year.
Samsung is planning to finish the development of the 17nm DRAM by end of 2017, with mass production to start in 2018.
The company has also established a development team for 16nm DRAM (Kevlar) project, which will enter mass-production in 2020 at the earliest. Samsung will probably use Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) exposure equipment for the 16nm DRAMs.
"After 1x (18nm), 1y (17nm), and 1z (16nm), the process nodes will be reduced to 1a, 1b, 1c, and 1d." said Manager Jung Eun-seung of Samsung Electronics Device Solution (DS) Sector's Semiconductor Laboratory. "In order to continue to decrease line width, we need to develop new materials that are different from current materials and increase stability of processes in order to introduce them to mass-production lines."