MANHASSET, N.Y. The chief architect of IBM's silicon-on-insulator (SOI) technology, Ghavam Shahidi, will be one of seven IBM Corp. researchers, scientists and developers named IBM fellows at an event in Palm Beach, Fla. Wednesday (May 30).
The seven new fellows will be added to the list of 53 active IBM fellows; a total of 165 individuals have received recognition as fellows for their outstanding technical achievements and leadership since the IBM program began in 1963.
IBM fellows are considered to be valuable corporate resources in their technical areas who lead technical projects within IBM and serve as role models and mentors to the IBM technical community.
In addition to Shahidi, who receives the title in the microelectronics area, the IBM fellows named this week include experts in server technology, storage systems design, data management, data compression and laptop development.
Shahidi, who works for IBM Microelectronics' Technology Group located in East Fishkill, N.Y., has led the development of high-performance CMOS and SOI technologies at IBM Microelectronics for more than 10 years.
Shahidi joined the company eleven and a half years ago after receiving a PhD from MIT in deep-submicron devices. Since then, Shahidi has made fundamental contributions to SOI technology, from materials research to the qualification and production of the first commercially viable devices.
The challenges involved in bringing SOI from the stage of exploratory research to commercial products were hard-won, said Shahidi.
"We had problems with manufacturing, modeling, circuits, reliability, you name it," he said, calling the work "hectic, challenging and exciting."
Some of the obstacles included proving SOI's performance gains, convincing skeptics inside and outside IBM who didn't believe in the technology's advantages and signing up customers.
Shahidi said SOI's first big break came in 1995, when John Kelly, currently senior vice president and group executive of the Technology Group but who at the time ran the server division, committed to use SOI in the AS/400 line of server products that used 0.22-micron CMOS with copper metallization SOI devices.
"John Kelly saw the benefits of SOI early on, and I consider him a visionary," said Shahidi.
Shahidi also praised his boss, Bijan Divari, whom he said believed in the technology and supported Shahidi's team during difficult times. In addition, Shahidi credited all the IBM engineers, designers and manufacturing employees who worked to get SOI off the ground.
To show how far SOI technology has come, Shahidi's group will present a paper at a VLSI conference in Kyoto, Japan, in June on a low-power, RF SOI device that claims to have the highest RF in CMOS.
In the fourth quarter of this year, IBM will ship 0.13-micron CMOS SOI devices with copper and low-k dielectrics for the back end.
Looking ahead, Shahidi thinks that many application areas can benefit from SOI, and he believes the entire IC industry will eventually adopt the technology because of its advantages.
Noting that he "never thought [he'd] be involved in such an exciting project" when he graduated from MIT, Shahidi said of receiving the IBM fellow title: "I couldn't ask for a higher honor from a company I consider to be the preeminent technology company in the world."