Samsung creates ultra-small chip

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Samsung creates ultra-small chip

Samsung Electronics has succeeded in developing an 8-gigabit flash memory chip, breaking another world record in semiconductors, the company announced yesterday. Unlike the DRAM chip used in regular computers, flash memory chips can store data even when power is off, and are therefore used in cellphones, MP3 players and digital cameras. The new chip’s capacity is the greatest among existing memory chips. A memory card made with these chips can store about 4,000 MP3 files; current MP3 players can store about 120 files. “We will begin mass production toward the end of next year,” Samsung Electronics Semiconductor Division President Hwang Chang-gyu said. “In 2008, we expect sales of $10 billion from this product alone.” The chip is the most miniscule semiconductor developed. The circuit width used for the product is 60 nanos. Samsung competitors such as Micron, Infinion and Hynix, are developing 90-nano technology. “Up to now, the technology gap between Samsung and other companies was about six months to one year. Now, we’ve extended that to over a year,” a Samsung official said. “Also, we expect semiconductor capacity to double every year.” Samsung’s own development seems to fit this theory. Since it started producing 256-megabit flash memory chips in 1999, capacity has been doubled each year; within five years, Samsung was making 8-giga chips. At an international semiconductor gathering in 2002, Mr. Hwang announced a new semiconductor theory that overturned Moore’s Law. In 1965, Gordon Moore made a famous observation four years after the first planar integrated circuit was developed. By observing exponential growth in the number of transistors per integrated circuit, he predicted that the trend would continue and that the number would double every couple of years. In a sense, Samsung has beaten that law and doubled its capacity in a year. “Small, lightweight flash memory chips are storing more and more data; in the future, digital products that we have never given a thought to will emerge,” Mr. Hwang said. “The semiconductor market is predicting a big bang. Semiconductors are now our primary export product and will continue to be so even after five or 10 years.” by Lee Hyun-sang, Wohn Dong-hee

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