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TSMC claims first 28nm SRAM cell

Posted: 19 Jun 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:28nm process? SRAM? high-k/metal-gate?

Silicon foundry giant Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd has taken a slight lead in the 28nm process race.

TSMC claims it has developed the first functional 64Mbit SRAM cell, based on its 28nm technology. This development was presented in a paper at the 2009 Symposia on VLSI Technology and Circuits in Japan.

TSMC recently announced the 28nm process, which allows an option for silicon dioxide or a high-k/metal-gate scheme for the gate stack.

The paper does not appear to discuss high-k. Instead, the paper outlines a low-power technology that extends silicon oxynitride (SiON)/poly usage beyond 32nm with a dual/triple gate oxide process.

Other characteristics from this technology include 6-T SRAM cells, low-leakage transistors, conventional analog/RF/electrical fuse components, copper interconnects and low-k.

The paper also reports a 64Mbit SRAM with a cell size of 0.127?m2, and a raw gate density as high as 3900 kGate/mm2 in this 28nm dual/triple gate oxide SoC technology. In the paper presented, low standby and low operating power transistors using SiON optimized with strain engineering and oxide thickness provide up to 25 to 40 percent speed improvement or 30 to 50 percent active power reduction over prior 45nm technology, according to TSMC.

"This development was achieved through close collaboration with customers who are pushing their own boundaries of new applications requiring 28nm technology," said Jack Sun, VP R&D at TSMC," in a statement.

In the previous announcement made in September 2008, TSMC plans to deliver its 28nm process in early 2010.

Amid one of the toughest periods in its illustrious history, TSMC remains cautiously optimistic about the IC industry and vowed that it will continue to invest in R&D despite the downturn. And it is also planning to move the IC-equipment in its R&D fab for the 22nm node.

Racing for 28nm crown
Other foundries are also chasing after the 28nm node. Paving the way for its upcoming 28nm process, Taiwan foundry provider United Microelectronics Corp. of Taiwan last year said that it has manufactured functional 28nm SRAM chips. The technology also supports both high-k/metal-gates and silicon dioxide.

IBM Corp.'s "fab club" claims to be on track to introduce high-k/metal-gate technology ahead of all other foundries at the 32nm node. As reported, it expects to be ready to accept 32nm designs in the second half of 2009, with the ability to ramp production in first half of 2010.

In April, IBM's "fab club" has officially rolled out its 28nm process based on high-k dielectrics and metal gates. Early "risk production" for the 28nm technology is anticipated in the second half of 2010.

At the 2009 Symposium on VLSI Technology in Kyoto, Japan, Globalfoundries Inc. claims that it has found a technique that enables a high-k/metal-gate transistor to scale to the 22nm node and beyond. That company is part of the "fab club."

- Mark LaPedus
EE Times

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