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Thursday, June 24, 2010
IBM, Samsung and GLOBALFOUNDRIES Set for Fab Synchronization to Produce Chips Based on 28nm Process Technology with STMicroelectronics

IBM, Samsung Electronics, GLOBALFOUNDRIES and STMicroelectronics said today that the four companies are collaborating to synchronize semiconductor manufacturing facilities for the production of advanced chips based on 28nm process jointly developed by IBM Technology Alliance.

The synchronization process helps ensure that chip designs can be produced at multiple sources in three different continents with no redesign required. The technology alliance, based at IBM's facility in East Fishkill, New York, includes GLOBALFOUNDRIES, IBM, Infineon Technologies, Renesas Electronics, Samsung Electronics, STMicroelectronics and Toshiba.

IBM, Samsung and GLOBALFOUNDRIES - members of the Common Platform alliance - are working with STMicroelectronics to develop and standardize 28nm process technology to ensure consistent production worldwide for electronics and device manufacturers.

The low-power, 28nm process technology is designed for the next generation of smart mobile devices, enabling designs with faster processing speeds, smaller feature sizes, low standby power and longer battery life. The 28nm process technology is slated to become the foundation for a new generation of portable electronics that are capable of handling streaming video, data, voice, social networking and mobile commerce applications.

The 28-nanometer chips will use bulk complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS), and high-k metal gate (HKMG) processes. Members of the alliance are driving the global standard for HKMG with their "Gate First" technology. The companies claim that the specific approach is superior to other HKMG solutions in both scalability and manufacturability, offering a smaller die size and compatibility with design elements and process flows from previous technology nodes.

"IBM has extensive experience synchronizing multiple fabs, where we match rigorous manufacturing specifications to critical design parameters," said Gary Patton, Vice President for IBM's Semiconductor Research and Development Center. "The result is that our advanced technology can be implemented in many fabs around the world and produce the same results, providing clients with multiple suppliers for their product designs."

The members of the Common Platform alliance and STMicroelectronics will optimize the processes and tooling at all the respective manufacturing lines, or fabs, to ensure the chip designs can be produced with the same functional and electrical results at each of the companies.

The companies have released common 28nm circuits in their respective facilities to enable the synchronization. Details such as transistor performance are being measured, benchmarked and optimized across the fabs. The first fab to complete synchronization of the 28nm low-power technology process is targeted for late 2010, with product introduction to follow soon after.

The Common Platform alliance has been collaborating with ARM and Synopsys on the development of a comprehensive 32/28nm Systems-on-a-Chip (SoCs) design platform based on HKMG technology. ARM has developed an intellectual property (IP) portfolio integrating leading edge HKMG process technology with ARM advanced microprocessor cores and physical IP including logic, memory and interface products for distribution to their customers. Synopsys has developed a 32/28nm optimized design enablement solution, IP, design tools and methodology optimized for the alliance's HKMG technology.

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