Globalfoundries said Thursday that it had begun to install a special set of production tools to create through-silicon vias (TSVs) in semiconductor wafers processed on the company's leading-edge 20nm technology platform at Fab 8. The TSV capabilities will allow customers to stack multiple chips on top of each other, providing another avenue for delivering the demanding requirements of future electronic devices.
TSVs (vertical holes etched in silicon and filled with copper) enable communication between vertically stacked integrated circuits. For example, the technology could allow circuit designers to place stacks of memory chips on top of an application processor, which can dramatically increase memory bandwidth and reduce power consumption, a key challenge for designers of the next generation of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
At leading-edge nodes, the adoption of 3D stacking of integrated circuits is increasingly being viewed as an alternative to traditional technology node scaling at the transistor level. However, as new packaging technologies are introduced, the complexity of chip-package interaction is going up significantly and it is increasingly difficult for foundries and their partners to be able to deliver end-to-end solutions that meet the requirements of the broad range of leading-edge designs.
"To help address forthcoming challenges on new silicon nodes, we are engaging early with partners to jointly develop packaging solutions that will enable the next wave of innovation in the industry. Our approach is broad and collaborative, giving customers maximum choice and flexibility, while delivering cost savings, faster time-to-volume, and a reduction in the technical risk associated with developing new technologies. With the installation of TSV capabilities for 20nm technology in Fab 8, we are adding an important capability that will be supplemented by our joint development and manufacturing partnerships with companies across the semiconductor ecosystem, from design to assembly and test," said Gregg Bartlett, chief technology officer of Globalfoundries.
Globalfoundries' new Fab 8 campus stands as one of the most technologically advanced wafer fabs in the world and the largest leading-edge semiconductor foundry in the United States. The site is focused on leading-edge manufacturing at 32/28nm and below, with 20nm technology development well underway. The first full-flow silicon with TSVs is expected to start running at Fab 8 in Q3 2012.