HSINCHU, Taiwan --Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. has placed its 0.35-micron embedded flash memory technology in volume production. The first two customer designs were produced with the new technology in November, according to TSMC.
The technology is capable of producing system-on-chip ICs with integrated logic functions, and is claimed by the silicon foundry to be the first 0.35-micron embedded flash technology available for chip fabrication in commercial volumes.
Sam Chu, program manager of nonvolatile memory at TSMC said designers working on microprocessors and digital signal processor chips "will also benefit from the programming flexibility EmbFlash offers in targeting specific applications with their designs."
The 0.35-micron minimum feature size of the technology enables more nonvolatile, reprogrammable program storage to be packed on ICs. The flash storage will help engineering development teams speed their products to the marketplace because code can be modified late in the design cycle and early in the stages of production, noted the silicon foundry.
TSMC said its 0.35-micron EmbFlash process combines the company's generic logic process with a split-gate flash/EEPROM, which features high reliability and smaller peripheral overhead in the flash block design. More than 10 intellectual property blocks (called FlashIP) are now available in the 0.35-micron process, providing up to 4 Mbits of memory. Preliminary results from the new process indicate an average yield more than 90 percent, according to TSMC.
Program/erase cycles are guaranteed over 100,000 times. Data retention is also guaranteed for 100 years after 10,000 cycles. The EmbFlash embedded flash process will produce ICs that operate on 3.3 to 2.5-V supplies. At 1.8-V, devices will still be functional, TSMC said.
The Taiwan foundry said it plans to offer a 0.25-micron embedded flash process in mid-1999.