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Samsung completes 8nm RF technology development for 5G mobile chips
Jessie Shen, DIGITIMES, Taipei 0

Samsung Electronics has introduced its newest radio frequency (RF) technology based on 8nm process. This cutting-edge foundry technology is expected to provide a "one chip solution," specifically for 5G communications with support for multi-channel and multi-antenna chip designs, according to the vendor.

Samsung expects its 8nm RF platform extension to expand the company's leadership in the 5G semiconductor market from sub-6GHz to mmWave applications.

With continued scaling to advanced nodes, digital circuits have improved significantly in performance, power consumption, and area (PPA), whereas the analog/RF blocks have not enjoyed such an improvement due to degenerative parasitics such as increased resistance from narrow line width. As a result, most communications chips tend to see degraded RF characteristics such as deteriorated amplification performance of reception frequency and increased power consumption. To overcome the analog/RF scaling challenges, Samsung has developed a unique architecture exclusive to 8nm RF named RFextremeFET (RFeFET) that can significantly improve RF characteristics while using less power.

In comparison to 14nm RF, Samsung's RFeFET supplements the digital PPA scaling and restores the analog/RF scaling at the same time, thereby enabling high-performance 5G platforms, the company said. As the performance of RFeFET is greatly improved, the total number of transistors of RF chips and the area of analog/RF blocks can be reduced.

Compared to 14nm RF, Samsung's 8nm RF process technology provides up to a 35% increase in power efficiency with a 35% decrease in the RF chip area as a result of the RFeFET architectural innovation, the company noted.

Samsung's 8nm RF process technology is the latest addition to its portfolio of RF-related solutions, including 28nm- and 14nm-based RF. The company said it has established its RF market leadership through the shipping of more than 500 million mobile RF chips for premium smartphones since 2017.

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