MUNICH, Germany While Infineon Technologies participated in development for the 45-nm node, the company said it does not plan to implement it in its own fabs. Instead, Infineon will only design 45-nm devices while manufacturing is handled elsewhere, according to board member Hermann Eul.
When the technology alliance of Chartered, IBM, Infineon and Samsung Monday (Aug. 29) introduced first silicon in 45-nm technology, Infineon was among the four. The company contributed standard cells and I/O circuits to the complex 45-nm device with which the alliance proofs the functionality of the chips.
But Infineon presently does not have plans to use the technology in its own fabs, explained Eul, member of Infineon's board. While the company plans to introduce products based on the new technology more or less within the same time frame as the other participants of the alliance, the company's strategy does not provide the roll-out of the 45-nm technology in its production.
"The traditional positioning of semiconductor companies along the entire value chain from development through production and sales for logic products is in the process of transition and is therefore subject of optimizing capital investment and business development", Eul said. "Depending on future market development, Infineon will decide on its fab strategy at a later point in time." Presently, the company outsources part of its production to its Singapore foundry partner Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing.
"We now have first silicon", explained Eul the company's roadmap. "While first products in 65-nm are expected to be market-ready towards the end of 2006, we expect to launch 45-nm products beginning of 2009".
According to Eul, the 45-nm technology will offer about 30 percent more performance at the transistor level and lower power consumption, compared to presently used technologies. At the same time, it will be possible to place more chips on one wafer, Eul said. "All these properties together allow for a certain cost advantage, but it is too early to specify".
Infineon plans to use the 45-nm technology in the first place in chips for mobile applications, Eul explained. Since the memory of system-on-chip designs constitutes an increasing part and memory circuits could be manufactured with a smaller footprint using the 45-nm technology, the company's logic products also could benefit from the technology.
However, the company's mainstream memory business recently spun off into Qimonda will not participate from these achievements. The technology developed with Chartered, IBM and Samsung is intended solely for use in logic applications.
Qimonda's technology development was separated from Infineon's already several years ago, as memory makers and manufacturers of logic devices in general have different technology roadmaps. "In the memory business, we had different technology nodes for several generations", a Qimonda spokesperson explained. Thus, Qimond does not see a necessity to participate from the work of the technology alliance. Instead, Qimonda develops its technology nodes jointly with its Taiwanese partner Nanya Technology Corp.
Presently, Qimonda's volume production is based on 90-nm structures; volume production for 75-nm will be launched in the fourth quarter, the spokesperson said. The next steps will be 58-nm and 48-nm. However, the spokesperson was unable to provide a time frame for these nodes.