Industry Buzz

Wondering what’s new, what’s hot and what’s next in the SOI and advanced substrate world?  Check
out our Industry Buzz – now featuring regular updates.


In an interview with EETimes, GlobalFoundries CEO Sanjay Jha indicated that more than 50% of the Dresden fab output could be FD-SOI by 2018 (read it here). Jha also told EETimes that More-than-Moore technologies can be considered the mainstream. In the piece entitled, Can GloFo and Europe’s chip firms unite? author Peter Clarke makes an excellent point that between the four European chip leaders (NXP-Freescale, ST, Infineon and GF), “…there is the digital, RF, power, mixed-signal and microcontroller expertise to make almost any sort of wireless sensor node or any other circuit for the Internet of Things. What is clear is that there is no longer a single vector of excellence in integrated circuit manufacturing.” A recommended read.

Posted July 21, 2015   -   Share this Buzz

An IBM paper on a 14nm SOI-FinFET SRAM functional down to 0.3V has garnered press attention. The paper, entitled 14nm FinFET Based Supply Voltage Boosting Techniques for Extreme Low Vmin Operation by R.V. Joshi et al, was presented during the Symposium on VLSI Circuits in Kyoto, Japan in June. According to the abstract, the authors presented a new, “… dynamic supply and interconnect boosting techniques for low voltage SRAMs and logic in deep 14nm FinFET technologies. The capacitive coupling in a FinFET device is used to dynamically boost the virtual logic and array supply voltage, improving Vmin. Hardware measurements show a 2.5-3x access time improvement at lower voltages and a functional Vmin down to 0.3V. Results are supported by novel physics-based capacitance extraction and novel superfast statistical circuit simulations.” EETimes reported on the paper in a piece entitled “IBM Slashes Next-Gen Power” (see it here), wherein the lead author confirmed that this work was based on a 14nm SOI-FinFET architecture.

Posted July 21, 2015   -   Share this Buzz

RF-SOI champion Peregrine Semiconductor has introduced the industry’s first 300mm RF-SOI technology. Dubbed UltraCMOS® 11, it is built on GlobalFoundries’ 130 nm 300mm RF technology platform (read full press release here).

The UltraCMOS 11 platform will be the foundation for Peregrine’s high volume mobile products and SOI products for other applications. It builds on the success of the award-wining UltraCMOS 10 technology platform, also developed and manufactured by GF, and offers unparalleled performance and cost-competitive advantages.

PSemi300mmUltraCMOS_11

Peregrine Semiconductor’s UltraCMOS® technology platform now includes 300 mm wafers. Pictured are wafers from the UltraCMOS 11 technology platform (left), UltraCMOS 10 platform and UltraCMOS silicon on sapphire (right). (Courtesy: Peregrine Semiconductor)

Moving to a 300mm wafer opens the door to new enhancements and advanced features in future generations of the UltraCMOS technology platform, which can leverage GlobalFoundries’ 300 mm production-proven design enablement and manufacturing expertise and scale.

“For over 25 years, Peregrine has been at the forefront of advancing RF SOI technology,” said Jim Cable, CEO of Peregrine Semiconductor (now a Murata company). “That legacy continues with today’s introduction of the UltraCMOS 11 platform, the first RF SOI 300 mm technology platform. By using 300 mm wafers, Peregrine ensures our technology roadmap will continue to be on the leading edge of RF SOI.”

Posted July 14, 2015   -   Share this Buzz

SOI-wafer leader Soitec has appointed Grégoire Duban as Chief Financial Officer. This recruitment supports the ongoing strategic refocusing of the Group’s activities on its core electronics business, as Soitec announced on January 19 (read full press release here). Duban will report directly to Soitec CEO Paul Boudre.

“Grégoire Duban possesses over 18 years’ experience in leading change under corporate restructuring programs at groups in the energy, digital and automotive sectors. His expertise is focused on improving operating performance, implementing new business models, restructuring operations and refocusing businesses to increase the profitability of groups in transition, such as ours. I am delighted to welcome him on board”, says Boudre.

He adds, “I would also like to express my gratitude to Olivier Brice, who is leaving his position as Chief Financial Officer to move on to new responsibilities, after supporting Soitec in recent years with tremendous professionalism and outstanding commitment.”

Posted July 14, 2015   -   Share this Buzz

Qorvo recently announced that new high-performance SOI components are landing major wins at cellular base station manufacturers. (Read the press release here.) Ideal for broadband communications systems, the highly integrated components significantly reduce external components while lowering cost, power consumption, and weight in wireless infrastructure, test and measurement, and defense and aerospace applications. (Qorvo was formed following the merger of RFMD and TriQuint.)

“These new SOI components feature the broadband performance our customers expect from Qorvo’s products,” said Sumit Tomar, general manager of Qorvo’s Wireless Infrastructure business unit. “With exceptional linearity, robust power handling, and no external components, this portfolio is already in demand, even in the sampling stage.”

Posted July 6, 2015   -   Share this Buzz

Synopsys recently announce that its IC Compiler II place and route solution was used by STMicroelectronics to tape out a complex 28-nm-FD-SOI SoC. (Read the press release here.) Fast throughput and analysis delivered a 10X reduction in time-to-good-floorplan. A 5X faster implementation with 2X smaller memory footprint enabled breakthrough productivity while exceeding quality of results (QoR) in area, timing and power goals.

Thierry Bauchon, ST R&D Director, said, “Our experience proved the promise we saw early in the design with 10X faster design exploration and 5X faster implementation, enabling us to refine floorplans, up-size physical partitions and achieve faster clock speeds on this tapeout.”

Posted July 6, 2015   -   Share this Buzz

SoitecSITRISOI wafer leader Soitec and SITRI (aka Shanghai Industrial µTechnology Research Institute) have announced a collaboration agreement. (Read the press release here.) They say the strategic partnership will strengthen their leadership in high-growth wireless communications and the global market for RF apps, with a special emphasis on the fast-developing Chinese RF ecosystem.

They’ll focus on developing RF-SOI using advanced circuit designs based on Soitec’s substrate materials and technologies.

“Experience shows that Soitec’s engineered substrates can optimize RF-SOI technology and applications in terms of both cost competitiveness and power efficiency. This strategic partnership will enable us to push the limits of RF circuits and meet future connectivity needs,” said Soitec CTO Carlos Mazure.

“Enhancing RF signal integrity is a key focus of the mobile communications industry as it builds toward 4G-LTE Advanced and 5G standards. We are excited to partner with Soitec in developing next-generation SOI communication solutions. It is consistent with SITRI’s mission to create a collaborative R&D and commercialization environment to catalyze the growth of advanced technologies,” said Dr. Charles Yang, president of SITRI.

Posted June 12, 2015   -   Share this Buzz

SiEuropeSOIIC

Silicon Europe (an alliance of Europe’s leading micro- and nanoelectronics clusters) and the SOI Consortium have organized an SOI Workshop on the 7th of July 2015, during the 10th Silicon Saxony Day in Dresden.

Here’s the agenda:

  • Quick Introduction
  • More than Moore Market Analysis and Opportunities (Yole)
  • Power SOI and applications (NXP)
  • Foundry offer (GlobalFoundries)
  • FD-SOI status review (Giorgio Cesana, SOI Consortium)
  • Analog/RF, sensors and MEMS in SOI: demos and performance assessment (Denis Flandre, UCL)
  • Automotive IC needs (Infineon)

The workshop, which runs from 1:30 – 4:30, will be held in English. There is an entry fee (waived for students) for Silicon Saxony Day, but once you’re in, the SOI Workshop is free.

Posted June 12, 2015   -   Share this Buzz

LetiDaysheader_registration_lowresCEA-Leti, a leading global center for applied research in microelectronics, nanotechnologies and integrated systems, is proudly hosting its 17th LetiDays in Grenoble on June 24–25, 2015, and associated seminars and workshops on June 22nd, 23rd and 26th (click here to go to the registration site).

On June 22-23, Leti will present their first workshop on FD-SOI. This Forum brings together a stellar line-up from academia, semiconductor companies, system design houses and the EDA industry to build a vision of the strategic directions and state-of-the-art in FDSOI IC design. Click here to see the schedule – it’s impressive.

The big themes for this year’s Leti Days are Internet of Things-augmented mobility, and managing connected devices and the services and apps they offer. This also gives Leti a chance to show off their remarkable array of technological breakthroughs in silicon technologies, sensors, telecommunications, power management in wearable systems, health applications, the transport market up to the factory and cities of the future.

The event will feature 40+ conferences, many networking opportunities, a showroom and exhibition halls. You’ll hear and meet market leaders, startups, analysts and Leti technology experts. As with every Leti Days event, you’ll get a comprehensive vision of the latest innovations in key technologies and markets, and be provided with opportunities to complement your roadmaps with Leti expertise.

If you can’t make it to Grenoble, watch for other Leti Days coming up in San Francisco during Semicon West and in Tokyo, among others.

Posted May 29, 2015   -   Share this Buzz

PsemiSOIURF-SOI specialist Peregrine continues to expand its “SOI University” series of webinars (click here to see the full offering), which has been ongoing for five years now. The latest webinar (the fifteenth in the series) is entitled, Linearity: The Key to Successful Data Transmission in Cable & Beyond. It is presented by Peter Bacon, the company’s Director of System Integration. In this 48-minute webinar, Peter explains how data rates have continued to increase in virtually every application. As an example, he discusses DOCSIS 3.1 and explains that linearity is an essential factor in meeting the new requirements. Finally, he describes the benefits of Peregrine’s UltraCMOS® technology in meeting these requirements.

Posted May 29, 2015   -   Share this Buzz
IBMphotonics

Cassette carrying several hundred chips intended for 100 Gb/s transceivers, diced from wafers fabricated with IBM SOI-CMOS Integrated Nano-Photonics Technology. The dense monolithic integration of optical and electrical circuits and the scalable manufacturing process provide a cost-effective silicon photonics interconnect solution, suitable for deployment in cloud servers, datacenters, and supercomputers. (US quarter coin shown for scale.) (Courtesy: IBM)

For the first time, IBM engineers have designed and tested a fully integrated wavelength multiplexed silicon photonics chip, which the company says will soon enable manufacturing of 100 Gb/s optical transceivers (read the press release here). This will allow datacenters to offer greater data rates and bandwidth for cloud computing and Big Data applications.

Early in the program (back in 2007), IBM contributed a piece to ASN about why their photonics program is on SOI – you can read that here. (Most all photonics — except the lasers — are on SOI. You can read more ASN photonics pieces from Intel and others here.)

Silicon photonics greatly reduces data bottlenecks inside of systems and between computing components, improving response times and delivering faster insights from Big Data. IBM’s breakthrough enables the integration of different optical components side-by-side with electrical circuits on a single silicon chip using sub-100nm semiconductor technology.

IBM’s silicon photonics chips uses four distinct colors of light travelling within an optical fiber, rather than traditional copper wiring, to transmit data in and around a computing system. In just one second, this new transceiver is estimated to be capable of digitally sharing 63 million tweets or six million images, or downloading an entire high-definition digital movie in just two seconds.

IBM presented details at the recent 2015 Conference on Lasers and Electro Optics.

Posted May 14, 2015   -   Share this Buzz

SOIPIX15International research teams working on or interested in the far-reaching SOIPIX radiation-detector project have a workshop coming up in June. The project was originally started by KEK* scientists to develop a new detector technology and quantum beam imaging for high-energy particle physics. As research teams around the world (including Japan, USA, China and Europe) joined to take advantage of the multi-wafer project runs, it soon expanded to include more applications. (To learn more about the program, click here.)

Leveraging the SOIPIX strategy of SOI-based monolithic sensor-electronics integration, applications are now being developed in areas such as medical (x-ray sensors and radiotherapeutic systems), materials research, nuclear physics, astrophysics, electron microscopy and industrial uses (such as x-ray inspection systems).

(Here at ASN, we covered the project and its implications for medical imaging back in 2010 – click here to read that piece.)

The next workshop, SOIPIX2015, will take place at Tohoku University (Sendai, Japan) 3-5 June 2015. Registration has been extended until 22 May 2015. Click here for registration information.

 *KEK is Japan’s High Energy Accelerator Research Organization.

Posted May 14, 2015   -   Share this Buzz

A recent GlobalFoundries blog entitled RF-SOI is IoT’s Future, and the Future is Bright (read it here) says, “RF SOI is a win-win technology option that can improve performance and data speed in smartphones and tablets, and it is expected to play a key role in the Internet of Things applications as well.”

The blog touches on the full range of benefits of RF-SOI for front-end integration, resulting in, “… longer battery life, less dropped calls and higher data speeds.” It then goes on to cite complementary advantages of FD-SOI. Peter Rabbeni, GlobalFoundries director of RF Segment Marketing, notes that in FD-SOI, “dynamic control of Vdd and the use of well-bias techniques can not only help reduce overall power consumption but can be used as a means to optimize RF circuit operation. This is not something that can be easily done in bulk technologies.”

Posted April 30, 2015   -   Share this Buzz

Presentations given at the ‘Beyond Computing’ Innovative Technologies Symposium (March 2015 in Shanghai) are now available on the SOI Consortium website (click here to see the list). The Symposium covered MEMS, semiconductor manufacturing, RF and power, which are key topics for the fast growing “More than Moore” industry. The one-day, closed-door symposium was organized by members of the SOI Consortium and the Shanghai Industrial μTechnology Research Institute (SITRI) to facilitate exchanges with industry leaders in China.

Posted April 30, 2015   -   Share this Buzz

RF-SOI will play a key role in the IoT plans of analog and mixed-signal specialist MagnaChip (read the press release here). The company has launched a task force to address IoT. The statement says, “MagnaChip also offers 0.18 micron and plans to offer 0.13 micron Silicon on Insulator (SOI) RF-CMOS technologies, which is suitable for use in antenna switching, tuner and Power Amplifier (PA) applications. Switches and tuners are core components of wireless Front-End-Modules (FEMs) for cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity in IoT devices. MagnaChip’s CMOS based FEMs reduce manufacturing cost and time to market while providing competitive performance for multiband and multimode smartphones, tablets and other IoT devices.”

Commenting on the IoT opportunity, YJ Kim, MagnaChip’s interim Chief Executive Officer, said, “We believe there is tremendous growth opportunity in the IoT market and our participation is part of our overall strategy to broaden our product portfolio in new markets. MagnaChip’s IoT task force and business consortium with key business partners will reinforce our position as a key manufacturing service provider in the expanding IoT market.”

Posted April 27, 2015   -   Share this Buzz