Soitec (Euronext), a world leader in generating and manufacturing revolutionary semiconductor materials for the electronics and energy industries, today welcomes the extended strategic collaboration announced yesterday by Samsung and STMicroelectronics.
Samsung is licensing the 28 nm FD-SOI design platform from STMicroelectronics, allowing designers to immediately begin implementing the platform for system-on-chip products. This announcement further validates Soitec's early strategic technology choice to develop the starting wafers used as a foundation for FD-SOI chip manufacturing. It also represents a tipping point for FD-SOI industry deployment and for Soitec's electronics business in the next decade.
"We are thrilled by this announcement and very proud to have the product that will enable tomorrow's high performance and low power electronics for mobile consumers. These markets we are addressing with this product will be key contributors to the growth of Soitec's electronics Division," said Paul Boudre, COO of Soitec. "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."
According to Handel Jones, founder and CEO of International Business Strategies Inc. (IBS), "The 28 nm node will be a long-lived node; 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."
"Our FD-SOI technology will enable the design and commercialization of outstanding products, providing high performance and low power benefits. It is the result of a fruitful collaboration on the R&D side among STMicroelectronics, Leti, and Soitec, that has now been transformed into the implementation of an extended ecosystem and supply chain," said Joël Hartmann, Executive Vice President Front-End Manufacturing & Technology R&D, Embedded Processing Solutions (EPS).
"Leti is committed to develop solutions with respect to the major challenges of digital nanoelectronics, which are energy efficiency and cost reduction. Our long-term strategy to develop FD-SOI reflects this commitment, and has resulted in unmatched performances at the 28 nm node as well as for further nodes. The new agreement between STMicroelectronics and Samsung is a key milestone in the adoption of FD-SOI, and will expand the commercial offerings that designers can rely upon. Leti continues its development of further generations and our technology and design results show great promise for the 14 nm and 10 nm nodes," said Laurent Malier, CEO of CEA-Leti (Laboratory for Electronics and Information Technology).
Since 2005, Soitec' s R&D efforts have been focused on ultra-thin product generation and were partly funded and facilitated by the major French program called "Investments for the Future." Since then, Soitec has collaborated with key industry partners to bring its FD-SOI product line to the right maturity level. This has included R&D with CEA-Leti on Smart Cut(TM) process evolution and characterization, joint development work with IBM Microelectronics for device validation and collaboration with STMicroelectronics to industrialize and demonstrate the first products. Having FD-SOI in Samsung's foundry offering will further strengthen FD-SOI's industry deployment.
To deliver its outstanding electrical results, FD-SOI technology leverage starting wafers - on which circuits are built - consisting of an ultra-thin layer of top silicon over a thin buried oxide, with extremely tight control of top silicon uniformity - to within just a few atoms. These layers will be used as active layers in the final transistor. Being able to reach these specifications is a technical accomplishment that Soitec is able to consistently achieve on its production lines, thanks to the company's Smart Cut technology.
Looking ahead, STMicroelectronics, Leti and Soitec have identified a path to the next nodes. The partners are already demonstrating very compelling results using the second generation of FD wafers to enable the industrialization and ramp up of next-generation FD-SOI technology.