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Europe teams on next generation FD-SOI technology

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

CEA, Soitec, GlobalFoundries and STMicroelectronics are working together on the industry’s next generation roadmap for FD-SOI (fully depleted silicon-on-insulator) technology ready for 6G designs.

Research groups CEA and Soitec are based in France, while the ST fab in Crolles in France uses FD-SOI manufacturing at 28nm. GF has a key fab in Dresden, Germany, using the technology at 22nm with the 22FDX process, also used by ST.

Research lab CEA-Leti in France says the technology can be extended down below 10nm, which would be a key target for the technology roadmap. 

FD-SOI offers significant benefits with lower power consumption as well as easier integration of additional features such as connectivity and security, a key feature for automotive, IoT and mobile applications.

FD-SOI is an inherently planar process technology that can reduce silicon geometries while simplifying the manufacturing process. It uses an ultra-thin layer of insulator, the buried oxide, on top of the base silicon. A very thin silicon film then implements the transistor channel with no need to dope the channel.

This improves the transistor electrostatic characteristics compared to conventional bulk technology and lowers the parasitic capacitance between the source and the drain, reducing the active power consumption. It also confines the electrons flowing from the source to the drain, reducing leakage currents.

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“CEA has been, for over 20 years, a pioneer of the FD-SOI technology, within the Grenoble-Crolles ecosystem. CEA has also a long history of deep R&D cooperation with both STMicroelectronics, Soitec and GlobalFoundries and has been very active in the initiatives led by the European Commission and Member States aiming to set up a complete ecosystem for FD-SOI going from material suppliers, design houses, EDA tools providers, fabless companies and end users”, said François Jacq, chairman of CEA. “CEA is highly motivated by this opportunity to prepare a new generation of FD-SOI technology providing higher performance, lower power consumption and lower costs to address the needs of major European markets such as automotive, IoT, 5G/6G and manufacturing 4.0.”

“FD-SOI is a key technology for the dynamic markets we address and an important growth driver for our industry and our customers,” said Paul Boudre, CEO of Soitec. “The FD-SOI alliance that we are pleased to announce today is built on Soitec’s capacity to drive innovation in substrates and help launch a new generation of semiconductors serving a large variety of markets including connectivity, automotive, Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence. Together with our partners and allies, we want to confirm our technological leadership and continue to drive innovation in global microelectronics. This collaboration also illustrates how closely we work with our customers to advance technologies, address their future needs, and accompany them to go to market at a high pace.”

“We look forward to deepening our partnership with the leading French and European stakeholders across the full semiconductor value chain and in particular to build on our highly differentiated FDSOI-based solutions together to address the rapid growth of chips requiring low power, connectivity, and security in automotive, IoT and smart mobile devices,” said Tom Caulfield, CEO of GlobalFoundries. “The dynamic European semiconductor ecosystem is important to us and we will continue to invest to grow our presence in the EU as part of our global growth strategy.”

“ST was an early innovator in FD-SOI and has been in production for several years, with both custom and standard advanced products for a broad range of end-markets. In particular, the technology supports the automotive industry as it transitions to full digitalization and software-defined architectures in addition to the development of driverless technologies”, said Jean-Marc Chery, President and CEO of STMicroelectronics. 

“We look forward to working with other leading experts on the next generations of FD-SOI that will enable our customers to overcome the challenges they face as they transition to full digitalization and support the decarbonization of the economy,” he said.

www.cea.fr;  www.soitec.com; www.st.com; www.gf.com

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