LONDON Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (Hsinchu, Taiwan) has announced it will add a low-power version to its 28-nm high-K metal gate (HKMG) process technology with first production so called risk production coming in the third quarter of 2010.
HKMG is already considered low-power although at 28-nm conventional oxynitride oxide is expected to become difficult to work with because of leakage currents. TSMC is splitting its HKMG offering into high-performance (HP) and low-power (HLP) variants.
The lower power process' risk production follows the HKMG high performance (HP) process by one quarter and the low power (LP) silicon oxynitride (SiON) process by two quarters. Risk production for the 28-nm low power (LP) SiON process is scheduled for the end of first quarter of 2010, while risk production for the 28-nm HP process is expected at the end of second quarter, 2010.
The 28-nm HPL (low power with HKMG) process is a derivative of TSMC's high performance HKMG technology and features low power, low leakage, and medium-high performance on a gate-last approach. It supports low leakage applications such as cell phones, smart netbooks, wireless communications and portable consumer electronics.
The 28-nm HPL process is considered suitable as a SoC platform for general market applications. It is differentiated from the 28LP technology, which is positioned for cellular and handheld applications where lower cost and faster time-to-market from an evolutionary SiON process is most attractive.
The 28-nm HP process, announced as part of the September 2008 introduction, is also built on a gate-last approach and supports performance driven devices such as CPUs, GPUs, Chipsets, FPGAs, video game console and mobile computing applications.
"We developed a gate-last approach for TSMC's 28-nm high-k metal gate family that is superior in terms of transistor characteristics, high-end and low-end performance upside, and manufacturability," said Jack Sun, vice president of R&D at TSMC, in a statement.
"TSMC has been working with customers over a significant period of time to develop high-k metal gate technologies for low power applications. The addition of the 28-nm HPL to the 28-nm technology family, combined with the 28LP and 28HP, means that TSMC now provides the most comprehensive 28-nm technology portfolio," said Mark Liu, senior vice president, advanced technology business for TSMC, in the same statement.
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