GlobalFoundries launches innovation lab

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

GlobalFoundries has launched a programme for hardware innovation in areas such as photonics, quantum computing and wireless with key European partners.

The input from companies working with GF Labs will drive new process technologies and the long term roadmap for the foundry. These include European companies such as Soitec for silicon-on-insulator process technologies and IQE in Wales for substrates, as well as imec in Belgium and Fraunhofer in Germany and comes as Europe is also pushing SOI technology to 10nm.

“For more than 10 years, we’ve been working collaboratively with GF to help drive technology innovation across multiple dimensions. The launch of GF Labs will enable tomorrow’s more intelligent and intuitive, more connected and secure, and more powerful and energy-efficient technology solutions. We are committed to continue collaborating on advanced semiconductor R&D with GF, working hand in hand to come up with solutions that make the high-tech industry grow,” said Luc Van den hove, President and CEO of imec.

“IQE’s collaboration with GF on GaN accelerates the development of differentiated technology platforms that enable smart mobile devices, wireless infrastructure, power electronics and next generation displays,” said Americo Lemos, the new CEO at IQE.

“SOITEC and GF’s close collaboration on state-of-the-art RFSOI and FD-SOI substrate development continues to set the pace for the introduction of market-leading solutions for each generation of mobile connectivity standards,” said Bernard Asper, Chief Operating Officer, SOITEC

GF provides novel materials such as FD-SOI on 22FDX, and novel device architectures that enabled GF Fotonix, its next generation silicon photonics platform used by Ranovus. GF Labs will also develop RF SOI and SiGe technologies.  Additional program details and partners will be announced in the second half of 2022.

“Ranovus is dedicated to developing application-specific optical engines that are energy and space efficient to address the massive growth in data center traffic, which is fueled by new compute, storage and networking paradigms. Ranovus’ monolithic Odin silicon photonics platform leverages the GF Fotonix process with its feature-rich libraries together with Ranovus’ own proprietary photonic and RF IP blocks, including innovative on-chip lasers, to enable an unprecedented high-density optical interconnect for datacenter applications,” said John Martinho, Senior Vice President of Research and Development, Ranovus. 

It also works with leading startup PsiQuantum on photonics for quantum computers.

RF for 6G

The company has traditionally worked closely with the University of California at San Diego and Qualcomm on RF technologies.

“GF technologies made 5G mm-wave possible with 45RSOI and 22FDX processes first used by universities and then by most companies in 5G and SATCOM. It is now taking steps to establish a leadership position in 6G. We’ve been collaborating on a broad set of high-risk, high-payoff research projects leveraging the unparalleled benefits of FD-SOI, RF-SOI and SiGe technology with demonstrated phased-arrays and transceivers up to 180 GHz and together, we are pushing the limits,” said Dr Gabriel Rebeiz, Distinguished Professor and the Wireless Communications Industry Endowed Chair at the UC San Diego.

The open framework of internal and external research and development initiatives managed by GF Labs aims to provide a differentiated pipeline of market-driven process technology for future data-centric, connected, intelligent and secure applications.

“Fostering semiconductor innovation is critical to delivering a differentiated technology portfolio that will continue to fuel emerging markets,” said Gregg Bartlett, senior vice president of Technology, Engineering and Quality, GF. “Our focus is on making sure we’re always developing the latest technologies that provide meaningful differentiation for our customers, not just in the near-term, but far into the next decade. The launch of GF Labs accelerates our pursuit of the innovation it takes to develop and deliver powerful technological advances for our customers.”

GF also works with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in the US and the Institute for Microelectronics in Singapore.

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