8nm RF chip architecture raises power efficiency by 35%
South Korea’s Samsung Electronics announced on June 9 that it had introduced the newest radio frequency (RF) technology based on the 8-nanometer process.
The tech giant noted that the cutting-edge foundry technology would provide a “one-chip solution,” specifically for 5G communications with support for multi-channel and multi-antenna chip designs.
Samsung’s 8nm RF platform extension is expected to expand the company’s leadership in the 5G semiconductor market from sub-6GHz to mmWave applications.
The Seoul-based company has established its RF market leadership through the shipping of more than 500 million mobile RF chips for premium smartphones since 2017.
“Through excellence in innovation and process manufacturing, we’ve reinforced our next-generation wireless communication offerings,” Samsung official Lee Hyung-jin said.
“As 5G mmWave expands, Samsung’s 8nm RF will be a great solution for customers looking for long battery life and excellent signal quality on compact mobile devices.”
Observers point out that with continued scaling to advanced nodes, digital circuits have improved significantly in performance, power consumption, and area (PPA).
They say, however, that the analog/RF blocks haven’t 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 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,” a Samsung official said.