Progress is relentless and while most of the world is still trying to get its head around 28nm and a few people tackling 20nm, Imec is already off to bigger and better things – or should I say smaller and better. Somehow it just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
Imec has just released an early-version process development kit (PDK) for 14nm chips – the first of its kind. It introduces of a number of new key technologies, such as FinFET technology and EUV lithography. Imec and its partners are developing a 14nm test chip to be released in the 2nd half of 2012 using this PDK.
FinFET transistors have a larger drive per unit footprint and higher performance at low supply voltages compared to the traditional planar technologies and Intel has been pioneering this technology with their first chips planned for production this year. Evolutions of this PDK will gradually also introduce the use of high-mobility channel materials. The PDK includes elements of both immersion- and EUV lithography, opening the way for a gradual transition from 193nm immersion to EUV lithography.
This first 14nm PDK contains all elements for design assessment of the 14nm node through device compact models, parasitic extraction, design rules, parameterized cells (pcells), and basic logic cells. Starting from the PDK, imec and its partners are now designing a first test chip. This chip, planned for the 2nd half of 2012, will allow testing the device-, interconnect-, process- and litho assumptions, as well as performance and power of circuits implemented at the tight area budgets of the 14nm node.
Brian Bailey – keeping you covered
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