At ITF2017 Belgium, Dr. Kinam Kim – President and General Manager of Samsung Electronics’ Semiconductor Business – received imec’s ‘Lifetime of Innovation Award’. By means of this award, imec recognizes Dr. Kim’s leadership and strategic vision, as well as the impact he has had on the global semiconductor industry. After all, the innovations that Dr. Kim has been pursuing over the past three decades are extensively being leveraged in a great number of applications – from computers and smartphones to the technology that is being used to accommodate the world’s largest data centers.
In this article, Dr. Kim shares with us his perspectives on the past, present and future technologies to which he has been – and will be – contributing. And he specifically calls out to the world with a very hopeful closing statement: “It is my personal belief that there is no technical limitation to what we can achieve. Maybe, someday, we might hit a wall – but I am sure we’ll always find ways to circumvent and overcome any issues. After all, researchers must always believe in the future!”
The past: unlocking the potential of 3D memory technology
Over the past three decades, Dr. Kim and his teams at Samsung have been instrumental in the development of several disruptions in the semiconductor space. When asked which have been the main innovations he has contributed to, Dr. Kim calls out two major achievements: the introduction of three-dimensional (3D) ‘recessed cell array’ transistors (which have become a standard in the memory industry), and the development of 3D NAND flash memory. Both are at the core of a wide range of devices and applications that we use on a daily basis – from computers and smartphones to digital cameras, video games, scientific instrumentation, industrial robotics and medical electronics.