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power. precision. excellence. Highly-integrated SCALE-2® ASIC chipset IGBT driver with plug-and-play functionality Advanced Active Clamping (A2C) driven by prime performance www.IGBT-Driver.com Samsung to back adoption of ST’s 28nm FD-SOI By Julien Happich stmicroelectronics and Samsung Electronics have struck a collaboration deal on the use of ST’s 28nm Fully Depleted Silicon-on-Insulator (FD-SOI) technology, allowing customers to source their chips from both ST but also Samsung’s state-ofthe art 300mm facilities. This multi-source agreement completes a previous licensing deal with Globalfoundries signed two years ago, further encouraging the mainstream adoption of the process possible. While Globalfoundries is expected to ramp up its volume production by the end of this year, the Samsung 28nm FD-SOI process will be qualified in early 2015 for volume production, the companies said in a joint statement. “Building upon the existing solid relationship between ST and Samsung within the framework of the International Semiconductor Development Alliance, this agreement further strengthens our cooperation by extending it to 28nm FD-SOI, while expanding the ecosystem and augmenting fab capacity for ST and the entire electronics industry” stated Jean-Marc Chery, STs’ Chief Operating Officer. “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.” Implemented in the ultra-thin region of silicon on top of siliconon insulator wafer, FD-SOI technology is the result of a long history of research and development in the French Grenoble technology cluster among ST, CEA-Leti, Soitec, as well as other partners. This planar CMOS process has been demonstrated to offer potential advantages in terms of the range of voltage operation and speed, but lack of second sourcing somehow limited its large-scale adoption. Some market analysts such as Handel Jones, founder and CEO of International Business Strategies Inc., expect FD-SOI to capture over a quarter of the whole 28nm market by 2017, which he estimates to reach approximately 4,3 million wafers. This announcement could certainly attract more customers to ST’s 28nm FD-SOI process, but is it good news for the revival of European chip manufacture? How many of these new customers will manufacture their chips through ST’s fab in Crolles versus far flung fabs from Samsung or Globalfoundries? Despite these multi-sourcing agreements, 28nm FD-SOI has yet to take off in volume. Initially, Globalfoundries had announced it would be shipping in large volumes by early 2014, but the market demand has not delivered on its promise. It remains to be seen if Samsung’s manufacturing support will entice large volume chip vendors to jump on the 28nm FD-SOI bandwagon and reap the benefits. www.electronics-eetimes.com Electronic Engineering Times Europe June 2014 23


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