HSINCHU, Taiwan Silicon foundry giant Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC) here today announced development of 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 (see Aug. 7 story). 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 (see Sept. 15 story). 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.