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IBM 'fab club' joins high-k bandwagon

Posted: 16 Jun 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:IBM fab club? high-k metal gate? 32nm process?

IBM Corp. "fab club," which includes Samsung Electronics, GlobalFoundries and Synopsys, has announced the delivery of 32-/28nm process and design platform, based on high-k and metal gates.

IBM, Samsung and GlobalFoundries, first announced the 32nm process in 2008. Last year, the group announced the 28nm process. The club jointly developed the process and high-k technology.

And last week, South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd said its foundry business has qualified a 32nm low-power process with high-k/metal-gate technology. The company lays claim to being the first foundry to "qualify" a high-k/metal-gate technology.

Samsung said the process has completed reliability testing at its 300mm logic fabrication line in Giheung, South Korea and, is now ready for production of customer designs.

The 28nm low-power process technology is slated to be "factory-qualified" at GlobalFoundries Inc. and Samsung in Q1 11.

Samsung has taken the lead in commercializing the high-k/metal-gate technology. GlobalFoundries has stated its intention to skip the 32nm node and move directly to 28nm.

The overall 32-/28nm solution also consists of physical IP from ARM and an EDA design flow from Synopsys. The platform leverages ARM's Cortex technology. It also makes use of Synopsys Lynx Design System, enabled by Galaxy and other EDA tools. This RTL-to-GDSII implementation solution reduces risk and total design costs for 32-/28nm designs.

Most leading-edge chipmakers had hoped to be using high-k dielectrics prior to now, but most have been unable to implement what has proven to be a difficult technology. The exception is Intel Corp., which has shipped 45- and 32nm processors based on its gate-last, high-k technology.

IBM's "fab club" appears to be ahead of its Taiwan rivals. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd is expected to introduce a high-performance high-k metal gate process at the end of September. By December, TSMC hopes to have available a high-performance/low-power 28nm process with a high-k and metal gate.

Another foundry vendor, United Microelectronics Corp., is also devising the process with high-k.

- Mark LaPedus
EE Times

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