Globalfoundries is following a "dual road-map strategy," which sees the company's first 7nm FinFET tape outs happening in the 2H18 with production in 2019 and also work in fully depleted silicon on insulator (FDSOI) processes.
Speaking to EENewseurope.com, Globalfoundries's CTO Gary Patton said that the company's first source customers for the 7nm FinFET tape-outs include AMD, IBM and some other companies via an ASIC design platform.
The company is working on advanced 7nm FinFETs in its Fab 8 complex in Malta and New York.
Globalfoundries plans to use extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV) with the 7nm process in 2019. The company will launch with optical immersion lithography and then will be able to offer performance enhancement to the 7nm technology.
Patton said that the FinFET 14nm and 7nm are "major" nodes, and that the 10nm node, which Globalfoundries left out of its roadmap, offers just 30 percent die area improvement.
But the 5nm is another half node and 3nm will likely to be the next full node. Patton said that 5nm will likely be the last FinFET node and that 3nm would require significant transistor engineering. He added that nanosheets - flattened lateral nanowires each with a gate all around inside a fin - were a likely candidate for the 3nm process node. And this is something just announced by rival Samsung for their 3nm node coming in or after 2022.
"The introduction of 3nm will be three or four years after 7nm," Patton concluded.
Ragarding FDSOI, Patton said that Globalfoundries has 36 design wins in FDSOI and tape outs on 22FDX. The company's FDXelerator partnership program has launched with 7 partners in 3Q16 and now has 47. Patton said that the company is heading towards 75 partners by the end of the year, with several real IC tape outs on 22FDX already finished and the first tape outs on 12FDX to be expected for 2020.
Globalfoundries is also researching the addition of a second non-volatile memory technology option, and potentially more, to its offering on 22nm FDSOI. The company already offers magnetic RAM (MRAM) on its 22FDX process and is now researching other memory options, according Patton.
Patton stressed that RF elements and millimeter wave circuits on FDSOI are world class making the process good for automobile radar applications. Gloabalfoundries' 22FDX process has just been certified to AEC-Q100 Grade 2 for production. As a part of the AEC-Q100 Grade 2 certification, devices must withstand reliability stress tests for an extended period of time, over a wide temperature range.
But GF is dacing the pressure from Samsung, which has announced an 18nm FDSOI follow on.
Samsung is also offering both embedded MRAM and flash options on its 28nm FDSOI and STMicroelectronics has opted for phase-change memory on 28nm FDSOI. TSMC is offering MRAM and a variant of ReRAM as an embedded memory on its 22nm FinFET process.