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IBM 'fab club' synchronizes 28nm process

Posted: 25 Jun 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:IBM fab club? foundry? 28nm process? IC manufacturing?

IBM, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd, GlobalFoundries and STMicroelectronics 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 customers' 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, ST and Toshiba.

IBM, Samsung and GlobalFoundriesmembers of the Common Platform allianceare working with STMicroelectronics to develop and standardize advanced, 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 28nm chips will use bulk CMOS, and high-k metal gate (HKMG) processes. Members of the alliance are driving the global standard for HKMG with their unique "Gate First" technology. The 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, VP 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."

"Samsung has done extensive fab synchronization work with Chartered and IBM in the past and welcomes the expansion of this activity with GlobalFoundries and ST at 28nm. We expect our customers will gain significant benefits in accelerated time to volume production and assurance of supply from the synergy of this collaboration," said Jay Min, VP, Samsung's foundry business.

"Today's announcement is further proof of the importance of collaboration to enabling advanced technology foundry innovation," said Suresh Venkatesan, VP of alliance technology development at GlobalFoundries. "Along with our partners in the Common Platform alliance, we are committed to delivering to customers a robust 28nm technology implementation that breaks new ground in performance and power efficiency. By collaborating to align production capabilities we provide customers with maximum flexibility in foundry selection at the leading edge."

The members of the Common Platform alliance and ST 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.

"ST's work with the Common Platform alliance continues our longstanding tradition of partnering with leaders for the benefit of our customers and the development of the 28nm low-power technology is yet another success," said Joel Hartmann, technology R&D group VP and general manager advanced CMOS, derivatives and eNVM technology, ST. "We are working to make this technology available to our customers for portable, consumer, computer-peripheral and other applications as soon as possible and will extend its capabilities through the use of application-specific CMOS-derivative technologies."

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 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.

"The early parallel 32nm development work between ARM and the Common Platform alliance leverages our respective industry-leading expertise in processor IP, physical IP and technology development," said Simon Segars, executive VP and general manager, ARM, physical IP division. "This collaboration coupled with the fab synch announced today will facilitate design scaling and accelerate the market availability of next generation mobile devices with unmatched performance, outstanding battery life and reduced cost."

"Synopsys has worked closely with IBM and its technology alliance on common IP ports, design tools and flow enablement, including silicon validation at 90nm, 65nm and 45nm at IBM, Samsung, GloblalFoundries fabs and continues at 32/28nm," said John Chilton, senior VP and strategic development at Synopsys. "The Galaxy-enabled production flow in Lynx and supporting DesignWare Interface IP for Common Platform's 28nm HKMG process combined with this new four-way 28nm fab manufacturing synchronization offering, will provide our customers with the ultimate design choice, coupled with multisource chip production flexibility for their next-generation consumer devices."

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