Semiconductors and Components

Support Team Formed for FDSOI Chip Process

09 June 2015

CEA-Leti (Grenoble, France), a brnach of France's Atomic and alternative energy commission, has announced that eight organizations—a mix of research institutes and companies—are coming together to support design on the fully-depleted silicon on insulator (FDSOI) manufacturing process.

Silicon Impulse is a network of design services and support facilities designed to support FDSOI chip developers. The collaborators announced are: STMicroelectronics, CEA-Leti (coordinator), CEA-List, CMP, Mentor Graphics Corp., Cortus, Dolphin Integration and Presto Engineering. The network provides IC design services, intellectual property cores, emulator and test services, along with multi-project wafer (MPW) shuttles.

The first 28nm FDSOI MPW is planned for February 2016 to be processed at STMicroelectronics’ site in Crolles near Grenoble. The goal is to enable innovators to test their ideas, especially mixed-signal, analog or radio frequency (RF) technologies with silicon validation in FDSOI. MPW runs also provide a reduced cost way for startups and other small companies to build prototypes and run small volumes until they can afford to build their own mask set.

The FDSOI process was developed by STMicroelectronics as an alternative low-power process to the FinFET architecture. However, the selection of the FinFET by leading chip manufacturers Intel and TSMC have made the FinFET the de facto standard across the industry.

Nonetheless, the expected longevity of the 28nm node could provide an opportunity for multiple manufacturing processes and differentiation. Samsung has agreed to act as a volume foundry for FDSOI designs.

It is notable that in recent months that discussion from STMicroelectronics about FDSOI is starting to emphasize the suitability of the FDSOI process for analog, mixed-signal and RF circuits rather than digital.

The FDSOI ecosystem also includes Synopsys Inc., provider of DesignWare IP and EDA tools for FDSOI chip design, Leti says in a statement. It is also planning to use its R&D license from ARM to demonstrate various processor implementations in 28nm FDSOI.

Meanwhile, Sankalp Semiconductor Pvt. Ltd. (Hubli, India), a supplier of analog and mixed-signal circuit designs and IP, says that it will be a design partner for STMicroelectronics on FDSOI.

"The addition of FDSOI to our toolkit enables Sankalp to best serve our customers in the IoT/wearable, consumer, multimedia and automotive markets with complete IP and SoC solutions," says Atul Arora, IP business unit head for Sankalp Semiconductor, in a statement.

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