United Microelectronics Corp. on Wednesday said it would aggressively develop its 14nm FinFET process technology using the same methodology as adopted by its rival Globalfoundries with the 14nm-XM process, which utilizes back-end elements of the 20nm manufacturing technology.
“Based on our IBM FinFET licensing, UMC has decided to aggressively develop 14nm FinFET technology on 20nm metal. 14nm FinFET will deliver the most optimal low-power and high-performance solution to offset the cost impact from using double patterning lithography,” said Shih-Wei Sun, chief executive officer of UMC, during a conference with financial analysts.
The 14nm-XM offering from Globalfoundries is based on a modular technology architecture that uses a 14nm FinFET devices combined with 20nm-LPM process back-end-of-line (BEOL) interconnect flow. Even though UMC provided no details about its development, it looks like it will take a very similar approach as Globalfoundries. What is important here is that UMC’s 20nm manufacturing technology will use FinFET transistors. Leveraging the maturity of the 20nm technology will enable a rapid time-to-market as well as a smooth transition for customers looking to tap the benefits of FinFET system-on-chips as soon as possible. Previously, UMC did revealed intentions to use 20nm BEOL with 14nm process.
While Globalfoundries intends to mass produce chips using its 14XM fabrication process in 2014, it is unknown when UMC intends to initiate manufacturing at its 14nm node. Considering the fact that UMC only plans to ramp up manufacturing of chips at 28nm HKMG process in early 2014, it does not look like that 14nm FinFET is anywhere near. It is also unclear whether the Taiwanese contract maker of semiconductors also plans to design native 14nm back-end-of-line (BEOL) interconnect flow.
In addition to development of 20nm and 14nm technologies, UMC also cooperates closely with customers on specialty technologies such as HV, embedded non-volatile memory, BSI CMOS image sensor, 2.5D interposer, and 3D IC TSV to provide a full range of technology solutions for all types of customers in the future.