GLOBALFOUNDRIES in New York: Development, Culture and Community

A Special Report From The Saratogian

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This week, The Saratogian, a leading newspaper that covers news from Saratoga Spring and the surrounding communities, published a special insert on GLOBALFOUNDRIES. Totaling 32 pages, the insert consists of four, eight-page sections which explore the history of GLOBALFOUNDRIES and Fab 8, the development of Tech Valley in New York and our contributions to the region. This insert follows a previous special 56-page report by the Albany Business Journal, published in September.

The insert gives you and inside look at our Luther Forest Technology campus in Saratoga County, where about 2,000 people work in the 300,000-square-foot cleanroom and 385,000 square-feet of office space and outside area. Highlights in the special insert include:

  • The story of the evolution and founding of GLOBALFOUNDRIES in Malta in the 1990’s
  • Nano Profiles on employees including Eric Choh, Olivier Vatel, Sandeep Dave, Jim Fedorchak, Emily S. Reilly, Wendy Nicoson, Nakesha Smith, Janet L. Paluh, Deborah Onslow, Alain Kaloyeros and many more!
  • Explanations of the science behind what we do, including keeping products clean, chemical changes and details of working on a nanoscale
  • Why Malta? A description of some of the many reasons why GLOBALFOUNDRIES settled on Malta as the foundation for Fab 8
  • Background on The College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) and the G450 Consortium
  • The importance of technology and nanotechnology in the classroom, including how GLOBALFOUNDRIES has partnered with the community, local school districts and nonprofits to promote education

GLOBALFOUNDRIES is proud to be a leader in the global semiconductor community, but we are also greatly invested in the education and development of technology and business in the Capital Region of New York. Read more about that in the special insert, which is available online.

The Mobile Revolution: Taking it to the Next Level

By Srinivas Nori

Today our friends at ARM announced the launch of their newest processor targeted at the rapidly growing market for mid-range mobile devices. The ARM Cortex-A12 processor is expected to offer a significant performance uplift and direct upgrade path from the highly successful Cortex-A9 processor, while matching the energy-efficiency of its predecessor.

Most of the attention these days goes to the latest and greatest high-end superphones and tablets—and of course ARM has processors to serve this important segment—but the market for entry-level and mid-range smartphones is where the real growth is expected to occur in the coming years. For example, a recent report by ABI research projected that shipments of sub-$250 smartphones will grow from 259 million units in 2013 to 788 million units in 2018, at which point they will make up nearly half (46%) of the global smartphone market.

What do consumers want in an entry-level smartphone? They expect similar levels of performance and battery life as enabled by application processors for high-end smartphones, but in a more cost-effective system. Delivering this functionality is no small challenge, and it requires a tight partnership between SoC design and process technology to optimize performance, power, and cost.

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Timeline of GLOBALFOUNDRIES and ARM’s relationship

We have been collaborating for years to optimize ARM processors for GLOBALFOUNDRIES leading-edge process technology. Today, in conjunction with the launch of the Cortex-A12 processor, we announced new power, performance and cost optimized POP™ IP technology offerings for the ARM Cortex-A12 and ARM Cortex-A7 processors for our 28nm-SLP High-K Metal Gate (HKMG) process technology. You can read more here about this latest milestone in our multi-year collaboration with ARM. The upshot is that this combination of ARM’s processor IP and our leading-edge process technology will enable a new level of system performance and power efficiency with the optimum economics necessary to serve the market for mid-range mobile devices. GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ 28nm-SLP process technology and associated ARM POP IP for the Cortex-A12 processor enables up to 70 percent higher performance (measured single-thread performance) and up to 2x better power efficiency in comparison to a Cortex-A9 processor using 40nm process technology. Designers can achieve even higher performance by trading off for lower power efficiency, depending on their application needs.

But of course the technology industry continues its relentless march forward, and we have no plans to stop there. We are already collaborating to optimize ARM processor IP for our next-generation 14nm-XM technology. Our 14 nm-XM offering is based on a modular technology architecture that uses a 14nm FinFET device combined with elements of GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ proven 20 nm-LPM process, which will give SoC designers the benefits of FinFET technology with reduced risk and time-to-market. The XM stands for “eXtreme Mobility,” and it is truly optimized for mobile SoC designs.

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14XM Dual-Core Cortex-A9 PPA Proof Point. Similar results are expected for Cortex-A12

Back in February at the Common Platform Technology Forum, we announced results from the industry’s first implementation of a dual-core ARM® Cortex™-A9 processor using FinFET transistors. We found the following results for a Cortex-A9 processor implemented on 14nm-XM technology. Similar results are expected for Cortex-A12 processor implementations.

Here are the technical details:

  • High-performance, energy-efficient ARM processors implemented on 28nm-SLP typically use 12-track libraries. However at 14nm-XM FinFET technology, much higher performance and more energy-efficient ARM processors can be implemented using 9-track libraries resulting in further die-size reductions.
  • At constant power, the frequency achieved with 14nm-XM technology based implementation (using 9-track libraries) is expected to be 61% faster than the frequency achieved with 28nm-SLP technology based implementation (using 12-track libraries).
  • At constant frequency, the power consumed by 14nm-XM technology based implementation is expected to be 62% lower than the power consumed by 28nm-SLP technology based implementation.
  • The performance-power efficiency of 14nm-XM technology based implementation (expressed as DMIPs/milliwatts) is anticipated to be more than twice that of the 28nm-SLP technology based implementation, while using half the silicon area.

The mobile revolution has only just begun. We are excited to see where this dynamic industry will go next, and you can be sure we will continue collaborating with innovative partners like ARM to bring the next generation of connected devices to life.

Srinivas Nori is director, SoC innovation at GLOBALFOUNDRIES. In this role Srinivas owns the GLOBALFOUNDRIES strategy and realization for ARM ecosystem based solutions. Srinivas also oversees the exploration, identification, evaluation and collaborative offering of innovative SoC solutions.

GLOBALFOUNDRIES to Highlight Technology Innovation at DAC 2013

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GLOBALFOUNDRIES is ramping up for the Design Automation Conference (DAC) this summer! During the event, which runs from June 3-6 in Austin, Texas, GLOBALFOUNDRIES will be featuring the latest details on its mainstream and leading-edge technology solutions and roadmap.  

GLOBALFOUNDRIES will be located at booth #1314 at DAC 13 for the duration of the event. In addition to highlighting our new 14nm-XM FinFET technology that will deliver more than twice the energy efficiency of a 28nm-SLP technology-based design, we’ll be demonstrating several products, including:

  • 20nm/14XM solutions; 28nm design methodology (Analog and Digital)
  • 28nm Super Low Power (SLP) Technology with Gate First HKMG, the optimized solution for high performance mobile applications, fully enabled today with design kits and IP
  • GlobalShuttle, the Multi Project Wafer program for product prototyping, device characterization, IP validation and design enablement
  • RF CMOS and other value added solution process modules
  • DFM; analog and digital reference flows; process-specific applications

GLOBALFOUNDRIES will also host a series of one-hour private technical seminars daily, which  will touch on a variety of topics, from our collaborative work with ARM to produce smartphones on our 28nm-SLP HKMG process to parasitic challenges for FinFET designs and analog mixed signal flows and methodology for double patterning and FinFETs. Pre-registration will be required for these informative seminars.

In addition to the seminars, a number of presentations and theater presentations will be given throughout the week including:

Tuesday, June 4

  • Pavilion Panel, Dave McCann: Is This the Right Time to Create Standards for 2.5D/3D-IC Designs?
  • Synopsys Breakfast, Subi Kengeri and Kelvin Low: Ready for Deploying 14XM FinFETs in Your Next Mobile SoC Design Management Day, Bob Madge: Decision-Making for Complex ICs
  • Cadence IP Talks, Subi Kengeri: Enabling SoC level differentiation through advanced technology R&D

Wednesday, June 5

  • Mentor Panel, Richard Trihy, No Fear of FinFET
  • Pavilion Panel, Luigi Capodieci, Learn the Secrets of Design for Yield

For more information and to schedule meetings at the show, check out our DAC microsite.  

Bringing MEMS to the Mainstream: Latest Milestones and Future Trends

By: Rakesh Kumar

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The MEMS market is set to explode: by 2017 the market is expected to be worth $12.2 billion, a 50 percent increase from 2011, according to IHS iSuppli. Driving this growth will be the continued usage of MEMs devices for consumer applications, such as smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles and cameras. Additionally, new products such as silicon timing devices, tunable capacitors for antennas, autofocus actuators and pico-projectors are also emerging as market drivers.

In 2011, GLOBALFOUNDRIES laid the basis for our work in MEMS technology by qualifying products for our established customers and creating new customer relationships for the manufacturing of their products. Check out our previous post to learn more about the development of our MEMS technology in 2011.

We took the opportunity to ramp up our MEMS products in 2012. We observed that some of the unique MEMS tools on the market still lacked a level of ruggedness or maturity. To resolve that issue, we worked with our tool supplier to make improvements and optimize MEMS technology for large volume manufacturing. In 2012, we were also able to provide our customers with products for final reliability qualifications with very high yields.

The majority of MEMS devices require some degree of customization and standardized platforms may not be possible for all kinds of devices. Therefore, our initial focus was to develop key module and integration capabilities that would allow us to provide some form of reproducible and reusable building blocks for various MEMS devices. Some examples of such building blocks include cavity SOI wafers, poly TSV for interconnects, and hermetic sealing for wafer level encpasulation . In addition to these building blocks, we are working with A*STAR Institute of Microelectronics in Singapore to develop some platform technologies for specific applications as part of their MEMS consortium.

We are currently working on new processes and products that are on schedule for manufacturing by the 3rd and 4th quarter of this year. Many integrated device manufacturers (IDMs) and fabless companies have started process development with GLOBALFOUNDRIES. It is one of our biggest achievements that we have not only satisfied our customers, but also attracted potential new customers because of our capabilities and success.

Looking ahead, MEMS companies can only be successful if they offer a full solution to the end customer from design to application development, firmware, software etc. In the past, IDMs fulfilled this role; however, fabless companies are now beginning to meet the integration requirements, either by themselves or in partnerships with companies. Thus, we will begin to see fabless companies posing a big challenge to IDMs. The challenge will be the ability to get suitable MEMS foundries that can provide development support, shorter time to market and can build the capacity required to meet the demands of the consumer market.

We see an important role for foundries to play in order for the market to meet that challenge. We’re capable of using our processes to enable new product development, provide a fast ramp to production and offer competitive costs of manufacturing. We envision taking the role of a single supplier to provide the complete manufacturing solution that will allow our customers to focus on product design, firmware, applications and system level support. We can achieve this by not only offering device fabrication services, but also extending it to complete back end solutions in partnership with OSAT houses. With the careful selection of products and partners, we can create a pipeline of products that can provide a stiff competition to IDMs.

Throughout 2013, our focus will be on ramping up the production of MEMS significantly for the qualified products. We also plan to simultaneously continue our efforts to qualify more customer products. We see a number of challenges and growth opportunities in MEMS development, including the recent wave of MEMS sensors in relation to consumer applications areas. However, with increasing awareness of MEMS sensors and actuators and decreasing costs of system/subsystems use of MEMS devices, the MEMS market will grow significantly for automotive, industrial, safety/security and healthcare applications. With continued progress in the field, we hope to see motion sensor adoption in systems, tools which can detect variations for maintenance, energy harvester and bio-MEMS. 2013 will be another exciting year for MEMs and we look forward to the ride.

Rakesh Kumar is senior director of the MEMS program at GLOBALFOUNDRIES. Based in Singapore, he has over 25 years of experience in semiconductor process technology development for CMOS, MEMS and Silicon based opto-electronics devices. 

This entry was originally posted on SemiMD.

This Week: GLOBALFOUNDRIES to Present at Several Industry-Focused Events

This week will be very busy for GLOBALFOUNDRIES, as we’ll be attending and speaking at a handful of industry events. We’ve included all the important details below, including dates, sessions and more. We’re excited for the upcoming week and hope you’ll join us!

The Linley Group Mobile Conference

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On Wednesday, April 17th, GLOBALFOUNDRIES Executive Vice President Mike Noonen will present at The Linley Group Mobile Conference 2013. This two-day conference will feature technical presentations addressing design issues for mobile devices such as tablet computers, smartphones, navigation devices, media players and more. In addition to hearing an overview of the market and current technologies, attendees have the opportunity to attend talks and panel discussions covering a variety of topics.

Mike Noonen will be featured during session two, on mobile SoC design, which will be moderated by Scott Gardner, senior analyst at The Linley Group. Mike’s presentation, entitled “Lessons from Barcelona: The Future of Mobile Technology is Here,” will focus on the semiconductor industry’s progress in bringing FinFET technology to the mobile SoC market, as well as recent developments in FinFET technology by GLOBALFOUNDRIES and our partners.

GSA Silicon Summit

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On April 18th, Bruce Kleinman, GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ vice president of product marketing, will moderate a panel at the GSA Silicon Summit in Mountain View, CA. This event focuses on the business and technical factors which will yield revolutionary electronic devices in the future.

Bruce’s session, “Integration Challenges and Opportunities,” will cover the need for unifying silicon technologies and changing business models to advance the future of electronic devices. Panelists include Jim Aralis (Microsemi), Dr. Misha Burich (Altera), Dr. William Chen (ASE), Steve Longoria (Soitec) and Dr. Robert Rogenmoser (SuVolta). For more updates from this event, follow the Twitter hashtag #GSAsummit.

Electronic Design Process Symposium

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Finally, on Friday, April 19th, representatives from GLOBALFOUNDRIES will participate on a panel at the 2013 Electronic Design Process Symposium (EDPS). The EDPS, which is now in its 20th year, features the “free exchange of ideas” among top industry influencers in chips and systems. GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ Fellows, Srinivasa Banna and Luigi Capodieci, will speak at 1 p.m. about FinFET foundry design enablement challenges.

Follow our Twitter and Facebook pages for more information and updates on these events.

New York’s Nanotechnology Model: Building the Innovation Economy

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Today GLOBALFOUNDRIES kicked off an economic symposium, done in partnership with the National Academy of Sciences entitled, “New York’s Nanotechnology Model: Building the Innovation Economy.” Taking place at the Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, New York, the symposium is intended to highlight NY state and regional innovation initiatives and innovation clusters in leading high-technology sectors such as nanotechnology and semiconductors.

The National Academy of Sciences’ recent report, Rising to the Challenge: U.S. Innovation Policy for the Global Economy, has highlighted global case studies of innovation partnerships. The upstate NY region has been an exceptional demonstration of innovation partnerships between state government, industry and universities. Investments by GLOBALFOUNDRIES, SEMATECH, IBM, The College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at SUNY Albany and the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have contributed to the success of the region.

GLOBALFOUNDRIES is dedicated to the promotion of innovation in NY and in the United States and this was highlighted in the keynote address that CEO Ajit Manocha just delivered at the symposium. According to Manocha, the economy requires innovative approaches to the public-private partnerships that support new advanced manufacturing operations and those operations must be part of the nation’s economic strategy.

Manocha spoke about Fab 8 and other business progress in upstate New York and he shared both his vision for the company and his greater vision on how our company can shape the local, regional, national and global economy. Innovative approaches to public-private partnerships are necessary to support new advanced manufacturing operations which must be part of the nation’s economic strategy.

Defining Investment

In his speech, Manocha discussed the basis for our investment in New York, beginning in 2009 with the construction of Fab 8. Since that point, the Fab has expanded to consist of approximately two million square feet of development and will be capable of delivering a total manufacturing capacity of approximately 60,000 wafers per month once fully ramped with tools and equipment. GLOBALFOUNDRIES has currently made 2,000 new direct jobs in NY and that number is expected to grow by another 1,000 employees by the end of 2014.

Success in New York

Manocha discussed the various high-tech successes including technological innovation, job creation and advanced manufacturing. New York State’s public investments have developed CNSE as a hub of innovation, which combined with GLOBALFOUNDRIES’ private investments in Fab 8, are prime examples of the intimate links between research, innovation and production.

Why Semiconductors Matter in the US

Finally, Manocha touched upon the importance of the semiconductor industry in the United States. Semiconductors are the backbone of today’s modern digital economy, powering everything from smart phones to laptops, and they make up the nation’ largest export. The advanced manufacturing of semiconductors represents a unique opportunity to help the U.S. drive innovation, improve productivity and remain competitive in the global economy.

GLOBALFOUNDRIES is thrilled to contribute to the success of New York’s technology industry, but we are also looking forward to the future and the ability to contribute to the U.S. economy on a greater scale. This symposium provides the opportunity to reflect on the success of our work in New York, as well as opportunities for future investment. 

What’s In A Name?

By Subi Kengeri

Consumers continue to demand smaller, faster and more energy-efficient electronic devices, driving the semiconductor industry to accelerate development of commercially viable chips on more advanced nodes. However, these new nodes don’t just appear by magic. It takes a great deal of careful planning to develop and deliver a process technology platform that offers competitiveness, differentiation, and manufacturability. This is the job of my team at GlobalFoundries. It always has been difficult, but the transition to 20nm and beyond presents a host of new challenges, requiring a fundamentally new approach to technology architecture and definition.

Over the past few nodes, SoC designers have grown accustomed to a roughly 30% reduction in die cost from node to node. But 20nm is the first node on which foundries introduced true double-patterning lithography, which increases manufacturing costs, largely dependent on the target application. So there has to be something else to prompt customers to adopt this new node. For example, it is critical that a technology platform deliver SoC product value and designability, and has to be optimized for the customer’s target application. At 20nm, we really began looking at the product level value for customers, which we define in terms of the optimum combination of performance, power and cost (PPC), in addition to other customer care-abouts.

We took this to a whole new level with our recently launched 14nm-XM offering. Once we had optimized PPC for our 20nm planar SoC offering, we looked at what it means to incorporate 3D FinFETs on the next node. Going from planar to FinFET gives us a step jump in performance and power, but minimal benefit in die size because we chose to use the fully optimzed middle and backend of line from 20nm-LPM. The key was to architect 14nm-XM to ensure the performance and power advantages outweigh the lack of area improvement and to ease designability on the first generation FinFET offering. Leveraging the 20nm-LPM competitive density advantages and using the most optimal 3D fin structure, we expect to get back on the historical 60% to 70% SoC PPC improvement trajectory. We also expect to see a big benefit in time-to-volume (on a node to node basis) because we will leverage key technology modules and PDKs from 20nm-LPM, which we believe will allow our customers to design concurrently and accelerate our FinFET high volume ramp by about one year.

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But one question I often get asked is, ‘Why do we call it a 14nm technology if it relies so much on 20nm?’ First of all, we are using a true 14nm-class FinFET as the front-end device, which qualifies it as a 14nm technology. But in reality the naming of nodes has become somewhat arbitrary over the past several nodes. A node used to be named based on the smallest transistor feature size, which was typically the channel length. But channel length scaling stopped at about 45nm, so the industry does not actually have a 28nm gate in a 28nm technology. Secondly, the point of moving to a new node is the delivery of value to the customer. They need to see a SoC level product value, which really translates to the PPC, and 14nm-XM offers a full node value. As long as customers see at least this level of value, they frankly don’t care what the technology is called or what is inside.

Now we need to find a way to deliver this same product level value at 10nm. The whole industry has quite a few challenges going to 10nm. FinFETs are scalable and will have a long life, but we will have already realized the performance and power value from the front-end device with 14nm-XM. We don’t expect extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography will be ready, at least not at the beginning of the node, which means we will have more layers that require multiple patterning and therefore significant cost increases. We will need to find other ways to provide performance and power benefits to deliver a total PPC to stay on the SoC value trajectory. We have been working on this and 7nm technologies for several years and we are very close to nailing down a competitive 10nm technology architecture. We are running 10nm devices in silicon and I am confident we will deliver the value our customers have come to expect.

For more detail on this topic, check out the recent interview with SemiMD’s Mark LaPedus, where we talk about FinFETs, EUV, and Moore’s Law.

Subramani “Subi” Kengeri is vice president of advanced technology architecture at GLOBALFOUNDRIES.

This post also appeared on Chip Design Magazine