Paul van Gerven
13 April

CEA-Leti, Globalfoundries, Soitec and STMicroelectronics have partnered up to move FD-SOI to lower nodes. Globalfoundries’ Dresden fab has been running a number of 22nm FD-SOI process variations for years and rolled out a 12nm platform in 2016, but that was put on hold. ST currently runs a 28nm FD-SOI process at its fab in Crolles.

FD-SOI is a planar alternative to bulk CMOS. Manufactured on a thin layer of silicon on top of an insulating buried oxide layer, one of FD-SOI’s main features is practically no leakage currents. The technology also offers reduced process complexity compared to 3D FinFETs as well as reduced device dimensions, along with the power and performance improvements that come with smaller geometries. Globalfoundries and ST market the technology as a particularly good fit for IoT, mobile (RF) and automotive applications.

CEA Leti cleanroom
CEA-Leti’s cleanroom. Credit: Andréa Aubert/CEA

“FD-SOI is 25 percent faster than equivalent transistors on solid silicon, and consumes up to 40 percent less energy, particularly thanks to leakage control. Today, FD-SOI is at a turning point in its history supporting the quest for performance and energy frugality,” says CEA-Leti CEO Sébastien Dauvé. “CEA-Leti has continuously worked to improve and scale the technology, especially in very aggressive technological nodes,” he adds.

“ST was an early innovator in FD-SOI and has been in production for several years, with both custom and standard advanced products for a broad range of end markets. In particular, the technology supports the automotive industry as it transitions to full digitalization and software-defined architectures in addition to the development of driverless technologies. We look forward to working with other leading experts on the next generations of FD-SOI that will enable our customers to overcome the challenges they face as they transition to full digitalization and support the decarbonization of the economy,” comments ST president and CEO Jean-Marc Chery.

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“We look forward to deepening our partnership with the leading French and European stakeholders across the full semiconductor value chain and in particular to build on our highly differentiated FD-SOI-based solutions together to address the rapid growth of chips requiring low power, connectivity and security in automotive, IoT and smart mobile devices. The dynamic European semiconductor ecosystem is important to us and we’ll continue to invest to grow our presence in the EU as part of our global growth strategy,” says Globalfoundries CEO Tom Caulfield.