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Posts Tagged ‘28nm’

79 GHz CMOS RADAR Chips for Cars from Imec and Infineon

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016


By Ed Korczynski, Sr. Technical Editor

As unveiled at the annual Imec Technology Forum in Brussels (, Infineon Technologies AG ( and imec ( are working on highly integrated CMOS-based 79 GHz sensor chips for automotive radar applications. Imec provides expertise in high-frequency system, circuit, and antenna design for radar applications, complementing Infineon’s knowledge from the many learnings that go along with holding the world’s top market share in commercial radar sensor chips. Infineon and imec expect functional CMOS sensor chip samples in the third quarter of 2016. A complete radar system demonstrator is scheduled for the beginning of 2017.

Whether or not fully automated cars and trucks will be traveling on roads soon, today’s drivers want more sensors to be able to safely avoid accidents in conditions of limited visibility. Typically, there are up to three radar systems in today’s vehicle equipped with driver assistance functions. In a future with fully automated cars, up to ten radar systems and ten more sensor systems using cameras or lidar ( could be needed. Short-range radar (SRR) would look for side objects, medium-range radar (MRR) would scan widely for objects up to 50m in front and in back, and long-range radar (LRR) would focus up to 250m in front and in back for high-speed collision avoidance.

“Infineon enables the radar-based safety cocoon of the partly and fully automated car,” said Ralf Bornefeld, Vice President & General Manager, Sense & Control, Infineon Technologies AG. “In the future, we will manufacture radar sensor chips as a single-chip solution in a classic CMOS process for applications like automated parking. Infineon will continue to set industry standards in radar technology and quality.”

The Figure shows the evolution of radar technology over the last decades, leading to the current miniaturization using solid-state silicon CMOS. Key to the successful development of this 79 GHz demonstrator was choosing to use 28 nm CMOS technology. Imec has been refining this technology as shown at ISSCC ( for many years, first showing a 28nm transmitter chip in 2013, then showing a 28nm transmit and receive (a.k.a. “transceiver”) chip in 2014, and finally showing a single-chip with a transceiver and analog-digital converters (ADC) and phase-lock loops (PLL) and digital components in 2015. Long-term supply of eventual commercial chips should be ensured by using 28nm technology, which is known as a “long lived” node.

“We are excited to work with Infineon as a valuable partner in our R&D program on advanced CMOS-based 77 GHz and 79 GHz radar technology,” stated Wim Van Thillo, program director perceptive systems at imec. “Compared to the mainstream 24 GHz band, the 77 GHz and 79 GHz bands enable a finer range, Doppler and angular resolution. With these advantages, we aim to realize radar prototypes with integrated multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO) antennas that not only detect large objects, but also pedestrians and bikers and thus contribute to a safer environment for all.”

Since the aesthetics are always important for buyers, automobile companies have been challenged to integrate all of the desired sensors into vehicles in an invisible manner. “The designers hate what they call the ‘warts’ on car bumpers that are the small holes needed for the ultrasonic sensors currently used,” explained Van Thillo in a press conference during ITF2016.

In an ITF2016 presentation, CEO Reinhard Ploss, discussed how Infineon works with industrial partners to create competitive commercial products. “When we first developed RADAR, there was a collaboration between the Tier-1 car companies and ourselves,” explained Ploss. “The key lies in the algorithms needed to process the data, since the raw data stream is essentially useless. The next generation of differentiation for semiconductors will be how to integrate algorithms. In effect, how do you translate ‘pixels’ into ‘optics’ without an expensive microprocessor?”

Evolution of radar technology over time has reached the miniaturization of 79 GHz using 28nm silicon CMOS technology. Imec is now also working on 140 GHz radar chips. (Source: imec)


Solid State Watch: May 9-15, 2014

Friday, May 16th, 2014
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ST licenses 28nm FD-SOI to Samsung

Friday, May 16th, 2014

By Ed Korczynski, Sr. Technical Editor, SST/SemiMD

On May 14, 2014 it was announced that STMicroelectronics and Samsung Electronics signed an agreement on 28nm Fully Depleted Silicon-on-Insulator (FD-SOI) technology for multi-source manufacturing collaboration. The agreement includes ST’s fully developed process technology and design enablement ecosystem from its 300mm facility in Crolles, France. The Samsung 28nm FD-SOI process will be qualified in early 2015 for volume production.

“Building upon the existing solid relationship between ST and Samsung within the framework of the International Semiconductor Development Alliance, this 28nm FD-SOI agreement expands the ecosystem and augments fab capacity for ST and the entire electronics industry,” said Jean-Marc Chery, COO, STMicroelectronics. “We foresee further expansion of the 28nm FD-SOI ecosystem, to include the leading EDA and IP suppliers, which will enrich the IP catalog available for 28nm FD-SOI.”

According to Handel Jones, founder and CEO of International Business Strategies Inc. (IBS), “The 28nm node will be long-lived; we expect it to represent approximately 4.3 million wafers in the 2017 timeframe, and FD-SOI could capture at least 25 percent of this market.”

Table 1 shows IBS data estimating costs for different 28nm fab process technologies.

“We are pleased to announce this 28nm FD-SOI collaboration with ST. This is an ideal solution for customers looking for extra performance and power efficiency at the 28nm node without having to migrate to 20nm,” said Dr. Seh-Woong Jeong, executive vice president of System LSI Business, Samsung Electronics. “28nm process technology is a highly productive process technology and expected to have a long life span based on well-established manufacturing capabilities.”

In June 2012, ST announced that GLOBALFOUNDRIES had joined the FD-SOI party for the 28nm and 20nm nodes. However, though the name has since changed from “20nm” to “14nm” (Table 2), work continues nonetheless with GLOBALFOUNDRIES on 14nm FD-SOI with prototyping and IP validation vehicles planned to run by the end of this year. Samsung has so far only licensed the 28nm node technology from ST. A representative of GLOBALFOUNDRIES reached for comment on this news expressed welcome to Samsung as an additional supplier in the FD-SOI ecosystem.

“Leti continues its development of further generations and our technology and design results show great promise for the 14nm and 10nm nodes,” said Laurent Malier, CEO of CEA-Leti (Laboratory for Electronics and Information Technology). Leti and ST are not against finFET technology, but sees it as complementary to SOI. In fact the ecosystem plans to add finFETs to the FD-SOI platform for the 10nm node, at which point Taiwanese foundry UMC plans to join.

FD-SOI Substrate Technology

Soitec, a world leader in generating and manufacturing revolutionary semiconductor materials for the electronics and energy industries, supplies most of the world’s SOI wafers. Paul Boudre, COO of Soitec, commented, “Our FD-SOI wafers represent an incredible technology achievement, resulting from over 10 years of continuous research and high-volume manufacturing expertise. With our two fabs and our licensing strategy, the supply chain is in place and we are very excited by this opportunity to provide the semiconductor industry with our smart substrates in high volume to enable widespread deployment of FD-SOI technology.”

Soitec’s R&D of ultra-thin SOI was partly funded and facilitated by the major French program called “Investments for the Future.” Soitec has collaborated with CEA-Leti on process evolution and characterization, with IBM Microelectronics for device validation and collaboration, and with STMicroelectronics to industrialize and demonstrate the first products.

Boudre, in an exclusive interview with SST/SemiMD, explained, “For 28nm node processing we use a 25+-1nm buried oxide layer, which is reduced in thickness to 20+-1nm when going to the 14nm node and we don’t see any differences in the substrate production. However, for the 10nm node the buried oxide layer needs to be 15nm thin, and we will need some new process steps to be able to embed nMOS strain into substrates.”


Solid State Watch: January 24-30, 2014

Friday, January 31st, 2014
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IEDM Preview: 20nm and Below

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

By Pete Singer

As the industry works to perfect 28nm devices in volume manufacturing and early 20nm processes, attention is focusing on next-generation 14nm and below technologies.

There have been three primary drivers in the semiconductor industry for the last four decades: Area, power/performance and cost. The well-known push to cram more functionality onto a single chip through continued scaling — or into a single package through 3D integration and other advanced packaging techniques — has been well documented. Today, with the exception of Intel, the industry’s leading edge devices in high volume manufacturing have critical dimensions of 28nm. Intel, racing ahead, introduced the 22nm IvyBridge chip in 2011 and has announced plans to have 14nm by the end of 2013. How long this kind of scaling can continue is the subject of some debate, with most recognizing the EUV lithography will be required at some point, most likely for the 10nm generation (Intel has said it doesn’t need it for 14nm).

It’s clear, though, that continued scaling is running out of steam, and that the industry most look for other means by which to say on the path defined by the proverbial “Moore’s Law.” Those advances are one of the primary focal points of the upcoming 58th annual IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM), which will take place December 10-12, 2012 at the San Francisco Hilton Union Square. The conference will be preceded by a day of short courses on Sunday, Dec. 9 and by a program of 90-minute afternoon tutorial sessions on Saturday, Dec. 8.
As reported in last month’s issue, highlights of the IEDM 2012 technical program, which comprises some 220 presentations, include Intel’s unveiling of its industry-leading trigate manufacturing technology; a plethora of advances in memory technologies from numerous companies; IBM’s demonstration of high-performance logic technology on flexible plastic substrates; continuing advances in the scaling of transistors to ever smaller sizes, and breakthroughs in many other areas that will continue to move electronics technology forward.

Following, we’ve assembled a list of the “be sure not to miss” papers and sessions slated for IEDM 2012.

Invited papers

In the plenary session, imec’s Luc Van den hove, will describe how ultimate transistor and memory technologies are the core of a sustainable society. He says that several key societal challenges in domains such as healthcare, energy, urbanization and mobility call for sustainable solutions that can be enabled by combining various technologies. These solutions will be backboned by wireless sensor systems, smart mobile devices and huge data centers and servers, the key constituents of a new information universe. They will require extreme computation and storage capabilities, bound by (ultra)low-power or heat dissipation constraints, depending on the application. This drives the need, he says, to keep on scaling transistor technologies by tuning the three technology knobs: power/performance, area and cost. To get to ultra-small dimensions, advanced patterning integration, new materials such as high-mobility Ge and III-V materials, and new device architectures such as fully depleted devices are being introduced. This comes along with an increasing need for process complexity reduction and variability control. Equally important are the continued R&D efforts in scaling memory technologies. NAND Flash, DRAM and SRAM memories are now approaching the point where new scaling constraints force exploration of new materials, cell architectures and even new memory concepts. This opens opportunities for resistance based memories such as resistive RAM, phase-change RAM or spin-torque transfer magneto resistive RAM.

In another invited paper, in the regular sessions, researchers from Micron and Intel will discuss scaling directions for 2D and 3D NAND Cells. They note that many 2D NAND scaling challenges are addressed by a planar floating gate (FG) cell, which has a smaller aspect ratio and less cell to cell interference. Figure 1 compares a wrap FG cell (left) and a planar FG cell (right). The wrap cell is limited by a required aspect ratio of >10 for both the wordline and the bitline direction in a sub-20nm cell. The planar cell eliminates this limitation.

Of course, not all IEDM presentations are focused on leading-edge logic and memory. In the plenary session, John Rogers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will talk on bio-integrated electronics. He notes that biology is curved, soft and elastic, while silicon wafers are not. Semiconductor technologies that can bridge this gap in form and mechanics will create new opportunities in devices that require intimate integration with the human body. He plans to cover ideas for electronics, sensors and actuators that offer the performance of state-of-the-art, wafer-based systems but with the “mechanical properties of a rubber band.” He’ll explains the underlying materials science and mechanics of these approaches, and illustrate their use in bio-integrated, ’tissue-like’ devices with unique diagnostic and therapeutic capabilities, when conformally laminated onto the heart, brain or skin.In the third plenary talk, Joo-Tae Moon of Samsung Display will give a talk titled “State of the Art and Future Prospects in Display Technologies.” There are two parts which satisfy this vision, he notes. One is the picture quality and the other is design of the display. From picture quality point of view, bigger screen size and higher pixel density are the main factors. The need for a bigger screen size requires expediting technologies with lower RC delay and higher transistor performance. Higher pixel density mandates a smaller unit pixel area and each unit pixel has the dead space for the transistor and metal line which is protected from the light by the black matrix. Clearly, the design factor is the one of the main driving forces for the changes from CRT era to flat panel display era, he says.

Notable papers

imec, in a paper titled “Ultra Thin Hybrid Floating Gate and High-k Dielectric as IGD Enabler of Highly Scaled Planar NAND Flash Technology,” will describe — for the first time — a demonstration of ultra-thin hybrid floating gate (HFG) planar NVM cell performance and reliability. Results not only confirm the high potential of the HFG thickness scaling down to 4 nm with improved performance, but also show excellent post cycling data retention and P/E cycling endurance. The optimized ultra-thin HFG planar cells show potential for manufacture and scalability for high density memory application. Figure 2 is a TEM image of a polysilicon/TiN HFG cell. The stack consists of an ISSG tunnel oxide, a dual layer FG (PVD polysilicon + PVD TiN), a high-k IPD (ALD Al2O3) and an n-type polysilicon CG.

In a paper jointly authored by GLOBALFOUNDRIES and Samsung, titled “Stress Simulations for Optimal Mobility Group IV p- and n-MOS FinFETs for the 14 nm Node and Beyond,” researchers provide calculations of stress enhanced mobilities for n- and p-FinFETs with both Si and Ge channels for the 14nm node and beyond. Results indicate that both for nFETs and pFETs, Ge is “very interesting,” provided the correct stressors are used to boost mobility. Figure 3 is a XTEM of a Ge-channel FET with SiGe source/drain. They conclude that strained channels grown on a strain relaxed buffer is effective for 14nm nodes and scalable to future nodes. TCAD simulation trends are experimentally confirmed by nano-beam diffraction (NBD).

Luncheon presentation

Ajit Manocha, CEO, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, Inc. is sure to provide an interesting luncheon talk on Tuesday, December 11th, addressing some recent jabs from Intel’s Mark Bohr. The title of Manocha’s talk: “Is the Fabless/Foundry Model Dead? We Don’t Think So. Long Live Foundry 2.0!”

Manocha says that industry experts and observers have predicted for a long time that the fabless model has some cracks in it, and may in fact be headed for extinction at some point. “We in the foundry industry dismissed such chatter as we continue to enjoy growth rates that outpace the overall semiconductor industry,” he notes in his pre-conference abstract. “But it wasn’t until an executive from — surprise — Intel officially declared the fabless model is collapsing recently that many of us really got our feathers ruffled. We firmly believe that the rumors of its death are greatly exaggerated. Evidence would seem to support that it is actually the IDM model which is dead, survived only by a very small number of anomalies that have either the financial wherewithal or stubbornness to continue down this path.”

The foundry-based fabless model is not going away, and moreover it is driving manufacturers and device designers closer together, says Manocha. But like all living organisms, especially those in electronics, we have to continue to evolve. There are warning signs, both technical and economic, emerging in the foundry business that warrant our attention, and in fact require a re-thinking of how best to apply our resources and energy. Recent talks of fabless companies investing in their own fabs, and of foundries developing single company fabs’ underscore the sense of urgency. “Clearly, we must change – Call it Foundry 2.0,” he says.

Unprecedented technical and business challenges have driven semiconductor manufacturing to this new fork in the road. On the one side is the option to ‘go it alone’, an option available to less than a handful of companies. The temptation here is to circle the wagons, dig deep into the bank and develop an optimized, but relatively closed, solution that will hopefully work for most every need. Manocha said a second option, ironically, is a move toward a more IDM-like model. Strategic collaboration that creates a ‘virtual IDM-like interface’ to chip design companies will help further close the gap between process teams at the manufacturing companies and design teams at the fabless companies. “With daunting technical challenges like 3D stacking, 450mm fabs, new transistor architectures, multi-patterning, and the long-term viability of extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography, collaboration ‘early, often and deep’ is really the only practical approach given the cost and complexities involved,” he said.

Evening panel

One of the two evening panels on Tuesday at 8pm is titled “The Mighty Little Transistor: FinFETs to the Finish or Another Radical Shift?” The moderator will be Suresh Venkatesan of GLOBALFOUNDRIES. He notes that the 22nm node spelled the dawn of the fullly-depleted device architecture with the implementation of FinFETs as the workhorse of the technology. However, projecting out to the 10nm node and beyond the scalability of the FinFET architecture, the materials systems used to create it, and the fundamental electrostatics and parasitic components associated with the transistor once again loom large as significant challenges that need to be overcome.

Designing into A Foundry Low-Power High-k Metal Gate 28nm CMOS Solution

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

28nm Super Low Power is the low power CMOS offering delivered on a bulk silicon substrate for mobile consumer and digital consumer applications. The 28nm process technology is slated to become the foundation for a new generation of portable electronics that are capable of handling streaming video, data, voice, social networking and mobile commerce applications.

To view this white paper, click here.