Thursday, May 1, 2014

Increased chip race: Globalfoundries wants to stay for years at 28-nm technology – Computer cent,

 Cleanroom bridge at Globalfoundries Dresden Fig. GF

Cleanroom bridge at Globalfoundries Dresden. Figure: GF

contract manufacturer wants to “drill” technique by metal gate-Transisitoren and asks Saxony by 10.6 million euros in support Help

Dresden 30 April 2014: The semiconductor contract manufacturer “GlobalFoundries’ (GF)) wants to get out for about ten years out of the industry race to make finer chip structures. At least in Dresden you will continue to use the recently developed 28-nanometer manufacturing technology to about the year 2020 as the dominant production method, confirmed the Dresdner GF Manager Gerd Teepe and Jens Drews on cent, inquiry – usually are in the peak microelectronics innovation cycles of two to four years common. Main reason: GF holds the new chip-exposure techniques by double pattern (“double patterning”) and X-ray light (“TEU”) nor too expensive and too immature to convert it

“Replacement Metal Gate” is intended for more chip-performance ensure

However Dresden GF wants to drill its 28-nm manufacturing so that yet more powerful chips are possible. A first step, metal gate transistors (“Replacement Metal Gate” = RMG) for their development, the company has to be now asked the Free State of Saxony is a special grant in the amount of 10.6 million euros. Science and Treasury keep the RMG project “Apollo” also essential for the competitiveness of the chip location in Dresden and appeal now to the Diet to release these funds in anticipation of the biennium 2015/16, so GF can immediately begin research .

project “Apollo” is crucial for competitiveness of the location Dresden

 Jens Drews Photo:. Silicon Saxony

Jens Drews. Photo: Silicon Saxony

GF lobbyist Jens Drews was very pleased with this Protect Help: “We thank the Free State of Saxony for support for the introduction of a new technology in our Dresden factory,” said he did. “As a contract manufacturer, we have to rely on to provide the technologies that our global customers today and tomorrow demand,” said Drews. The introduction of metal gate technology RMG carry with, “to serve medium and long term more customers with technologically-leading semiconductor products from Dresden and thus to extend the productive life of the 28-nm technology in Dresden far beyond the year 2020. The support of the state government makes it possible to realize the project now in Dresden “


chip production pushes more and more physical limits

background. During the past 50 years had the microelectronics industry worldwide doubled the packing density of transistors (mini-switches) approximately every two years to produce ever faster and more powerful chips 8 “Moore’s Law”). To turn of the millennia-first serious concerns here. So it was no longer possible because of heat problems, hochzuschrauben the clock frequencies of processors customized. Then Intel and AMD then broke her “gigahertz race” from.

exposure for years only with 193-nanometer radiation

Because of the high degree of automation of the Globalfoundries Cleanroom acts not as shaky as other chip factories Here's a look at the lithography, in which the chip structures are exposed on the wafers photo:.. Karin Rath, Globalfoundries Dresden

Because 193-nm platesetters work close to the visible daylight range, the lithography department at GlobalFoundries and other chip factories are lit yellow. Photo: Karin Rath, Globalfoundries Dresden

Especially the exposure techniques (“lithography”), the fine chip structures are generated with on-chip factories, pushing physical limits: instead of as formerly simply beams with always use shorter wavelengths, the major chip companies for many years now working with 193-nanometer-setters, who were continually being refined with little tricks. Currently, thereby chips are produced, whose smallest structures measure about 28 nanometers (millionths of a millimeter).

Intel relies on expensive dual pattern masks

Three-dimensional FinFET transistor. Figure: Global Foundries

Although Intel also produces an even finer semiconductor with it, albeit using the “double patterning” method, are utilized in the interference pattern of superimposed chip masks. As but more and more expensive chip masks are required, this technology

For smartphone chips not suitable

For GF ordered with similar objectives, only a part of the production volume – more and more customers order from GF instead special chips in smaller series, for example, in computer phones (smartphones), tablet computers and other mobile electronics are used and which depend partly on low power consumption, partly to extremely compact models or power – that is suitable Intel’s “double patterning” less

GF shy switch: X-ray lithography still too expensive and immature. ” / h4>
 X-ray mirrors. Figure: Axo

X-ray mirrors Fig. Axo

course, there are still Insert the chip lithography with soft X-rays or “extreme ultraviolet” (EUV) radiation with 12 nanometer (nm) wavelength There are but so far only some of the more experimental systems from vendors such as the Dutch company: a revolutionary way to smaller chip structures. .. “ASML” And they are still very expensive, slow and inefficient The problem: The X-ray light sources for this are rather weak, also EUV can not be directed by lenses, but only by special x-ray mirror – a part of this mirror technology was the way of Fraunhofer institutes developed in Dresden These high-tech mirrors reflect the X-rays but not 100 percent, but swallow a portion of it -..’s why in EUV imagers many levels are “connected” in series and end up coming little radiation from the already weak X-ray source onto the silicon wafers (wafer). Result: Instead of 260 wafers per hour as in today’s chip factory Lithoanlagen these EUV systems can expose only about 60 wafers per hour

forecast. Only about four chip corporations worldwide switch to EUV

Gerd Teepe Fig. GF

Gerd Teepe. Figure: GF

GF-technology expert Gerd Teepe is indeed convinced that EUV will eventually built into the chip works – the only question was when and by how many market participants. Probably only a few top companies such as Intel, TSMC, Samsung and Globalfoundries will be able to afford this technology. And until this X-ray technology is mature, GF provides the best value for money at the 28nm chips. The fact that the company intends to use this technology far beyond the usual time horizons, the Dresden GF-chief Rutger Wijburg had recently indicated in the cent, interview.

The trick with the metal gates

To fall back but not without mercy, wants the U.S. company, which operates its top works in Malta in New York and Dresden, as well as factories in Asia, this 28-nm technology but just drill out. So is the aforementioned “Replacement Metal Gate” technique to be developed in Dresden now provide more power. Here, the so-called “gates” (“Gates”), which control the microscopic transistors if each between the two electrodes stream flows or is locked, no longer exist as silicon, but generated at this point a hole and then with metal “poured out” (“Replacement”) – thereby providing a more powerful metal gate is formed. Author: Heiko Weckbrodt

For further reading:

Dresdner Globalfoundries CEO Wijburg cent, in the interview

Intel and TSMC to invest billions in EUV

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