Silicon foundry giant Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC) here today announced development of what it calls the industry's first "comprehensive" 0.13-micron test chip for mixed-signal and radio frequency (RF) functions.
TSMC said it will use the test chip to prepare design kits for customers and to characterize the next-generation 0.13-micron mixed-signal/RF CMOS processes. The technology is slated to enter production in the fourth quarter of 2001.
Just several months ago, TSMC claimed it was the first chip maker to offer production-ready 0.18-micron CMOS for mixed-signal and RF devices. The next-generation 0.13-micron CMOS technology will enable foundry customers to develop products with higher frequencies at a lower cost and increase the functionality of system-on-chip RF designs, TSMC said.
The Taiwan foundry company aims to use the new 0.13-micron test chip to help customers accelerate designs of higher bandwidth ICs, including devices for Bluetooth and SONET-based communications products. "The new test chip and design kit [will] take the guesswork out of the design process," said David Sheng, director of advanced technology product marketing. TSMC believes the test chip will increase the chances of first-pass design success.
TSMC said its 0.13-micron mixed-signal/RF process will be compatible with its core 0.13-micron CMOS technology, which is now being characterized in wafer fabs for production by early next year. The process features a core voltage of 1.2 volts and an I/O voltage of 2.5 or 3.3 volts. The 0.13-micron technology also supports the integration of precision capacitors and resistors for mixed-signal functions as well as inductors, varactors and diodes for RF functions, said TSMC.
The process has been optimized for n-channel MOS (NMOS) devices with a cut-off frequency(fT) higher than 80 GHz, and a maximum frequency (fmax) higher than 60 GHz, said the company.