LONDON — Globalfoundries Inc. (Santa Clara, Calif.) has announced that it is offering a fully depleted silicon-on-insulator (FD-SOI) manufacturing platform with a nominal 22nm minimum geometry design rule that can operate down to 0.4V.
Globalfoundries claims its 22FDX platform delivers FinFET-like performance and energy-efficiency at a cost comparable to 28nm planar technologies. It will be a boon to the mainstream of applications that do not require the high performance and high cost of leading edge in digital ICs and in particular will benefit power- sensitive applications in wearable equipment and the Internet of Things (IoT), the company said
The 22FDX platform includes four differently optimized manufacturing processes that span a range of applications from entry and mid-tier mobile SoCs to IoT, RF and networking. The FDSOI process allows the use of back-biasing voltages, which means that transistor characteristics can be put under software control. This, in turn, allows real-time trade-offs between static power consumption, dynamic power consumption and performance, the company said.
The four manufacturing variants under Globalfoundries 22FDX banner are: ULP, UHP, ULL and RFA covering different variations on low power, high performance, low leakage and analog performance at radio frequencies.
Across these various corner cases the platform operates down to 0.4V and can offer a 20 percent smaller die size requiring 10 fewer lithography photomasks than a 28nm planar CMOS process, Globalfoundries claims. Compared with a foundry FinFET process it requires only half the immersion lithography layers. As power consumption scales with the square of voltage operating down to 0.4V can produce considerably lower power consumption and greater power efficiency than conventional operation at around 1V.
The FD-SOI manufacturing process originated in research at IBM and was developed into a commercial process by STMicroelectronics NV (Geneva, Switzerland) ST has in turn licensed its FD-SOI intellectual property to foundry manufacturers Samsung and Globalfoundries.
"In an industry first, 22FDX provides real-time system software control of transistor characteristics: the system designer can dynamically balance power, performance, and leakage. Additionally, for RF and analog integration, the platform delivers best scaling combined with highest energy efficiency," said Sanjay Jha, CEO of Globalfoundries in a statement.
"Globalfoundries' FDX platform, using an advanced FD-SOI transistor architecture developed through our long-standing research partnership, confirms and strengthens the momentum of this technology by expanding the ecosystem and assuring a source of high-volume supply," said Jean-Marc Chery, chief operating officer of STMicroelectronics, in the same statement.