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IBM alliance ramps up for 32nm debut

Posted: 12 Dec 2007     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:high-k/metal gate technology  32nm chip  45nm technology 

IBM and joint-development partners, Advanced Micro Devices, Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing, Freescale, Infineon and Samsung, announced that their high-k/metal gate technology in 32nm devices will be available to IBM alliance members and their clients in the 2H 2009.

Using the high-k/metal gate process technology, IBM and its partners have been able to shrink the size of a chip by up to 50 per cent as compared with the 45nm devices, which are not yet in volume production. The 45nm devices are expected to start ramping at the end of Q1 2008.

In addition, IBM said that high-k metal gate chips save about 45 per cent total power and offer up to 30 per cent higher performance, as documented in measurements performed at IBM's New York semiconductor manufacturing facility.

The alliance partners have developed and demonstrated a 32nm SRAM with cell sizes below 0.15µm². They have also incorporated high-k silicon-on-insulator (SOI) technology at 32nm for high-performance applications. The high-k material properties enable a 30 per cent transistor speed increase over the previous generation of high performance SOI technology.

"This industry-leading development comes from leveraging the collective engineering talent across the six partner companies, as well as world-class R&D facilities, such as the Albany Nanotech Research Centre, in order to maintain an aggressive road map," said Gary Patton, VP, IBM's semiconductor research and development centre.

Separately, Intel has made 32nm announcements, but Patton believes that "IBM is first in developing working SRAMs in 32nm for both low-power and high-performance applications."

The IBM alliance achievements come at a time when market analyst firm Gartner predicts that, for chipmakers, process development costs for 32nm could hit Rs.11,837.99 crore ($3 billion), twice the level of 65nm process technologies. Costs for a 32nm fab are estimated to reach Rs.13,810.99 crore ($3.5 billion).

- Nicolas Mokhoff
EE Times

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