Globalfoundries, Samsung Deny Problems with IBM's 32nm Fabrication Process

32nm High-K Gate-First Process Tech Has No Problems, IBM's Fab Club Says

by Anton Shilov
09/28/2010 | 10:50 PM

Globalfoundries and Samsung Electronics, two members of the so-called IBM fab club, said that they did not experience any issues with the gate-first 32nm and 28nm process technologies. The companies denied the claims of a financial analyst that was indirectly confirmed by Advanced Micro Devices, which delayed the roll-out of its future chips because of process tech-related problems.


Andrew Lu, an analyst with Barclays Bank, said in a recent note to investors that that the adopters of the high-K metal gate gate-first technology adopters had encountered some problems that were related to thermal instability, threshold voltage shifts and re-growth in the gate stack, which is serious for pMOS (positive type metal oxide semiconductor) at scaled electrical oxide thickness. Separately, AMD said that it would delay the release of its code-named Llano processor that sports x86 and graphics cores and is made using 32nm SOI process technology to mid-2011 from early next year.

''There have been some misconceptions about the gate-first approach to high-k/metal-gate. [...] There are no Vt stability issues and gate-first offers comparable or superior performance when compared to gate-last approaches. Our 32-nm high-k/metal-gate ramp is in early production at Fab 1 and we are confident in our ability to deliver for our customer and maintain our time-to-volume leadership position in the foundry industry. We are currently accepting designs for all of our 28-nm technologies. Multiple customer designs have already been silicon-validated, and many more test chips are in prototyping at Fab 1 on the way to early risk production late this year," a statement from Globalfoundries reads.

By contrast to Globalfoundries and IBM's fab club, TSMC and Intel use gate-last approach. The latter is shipping second-generation HKMG-based products these days.

''As you may recall, Samsung announced in early June the full qualification of 32-nm low power high-k metal gate in our S Line. That qual included a full 1000 hr high temp operating life (HTOL) and have experienced no such problems," said a spokesperson for Samsung.