GlobalFoundries, IBM, Samsung, STMicro to sync up 28-nm manufacturing


— 6:00 AM on June 25, 2010

Developing state of the art semiconductor manufacturing can get expensive. Really expensive. That might be why GlobalFoundries has partnered up with three other industry titans—IBM, Samsung, and STMicroelectronics—on 28-nm chip manufacturing.

This latest partnership entails "synchronizing" manufacturing facilities so that "chip designs can be produced at multiple sources in three different continents with no redesign required." Production will involve both bulk and high-k metal gate manufacturing processes at the 28-nm node. The first fab to "complete synchronization" will do so late this year, and mass production of actual products will come shortly thereafter.

Here's the skinny about the new 28-nm technology itself, straight from the announcement:

The low-power, 28nm process technology is designed for the next generation of smart mobile devices, enabling designs with faster processing speeds, smaller feature sizes, low standby power and longer battery life. The 28nm process technology is slated to become the foundation for a new generation of portable electronics that are capable of handling streaming video, data, voice, social networking and mobile commerce applications.

The 28-nanometer chips will use bulk complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS), and high-k metal gate (HKMG) processes. Members of the alliance are driving the global standard for HKMG with their unique "Gate First" technology. The approach is superior to other HKMG solutions in both scalability and manufacturability, offering a smaller die size and compatibility with design elements and process flows from previous technology nodes.

GlobalFoundries is developing these manufacturing processes as part of the IBM Technology Alliance, which includes the aforementioned companies plus Infineon, Renesas, and Toshiba. Meanwhile, the Common Platform alliance, which brings together GlobalFoundries, IBM, and Samsung is working with ARM and Synopsys on a "comprehensive 32/28nm Systems-on-a-Chip (SoCs) design platform based on HKMG technology."

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