9 June 2011

TowerJazz teams with DARPA’s GRATE program on 500GHz SiGe  

Jazz Semiconductor of Newport Beach, CA, the US subsidiary of specialty foundry Tower Semiconductor Ltd of Migdal Haemek, Israel  (operating collectively under the brand name TowerJazz), has announced a cost-sharing collaboration with the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to advance its roadmap for high-frequency silicon germanium (SiGe) heterojunction bipolar transistor (HBT) devices.

The DARPA program GRATE (Gratings of Regular Arrays and Trim Exposures) aims to use grating masks combined with conventional photolithography to achieve very fine dimension features as an alternative to more costly lithography techniques such as immersion lithography. The grating masks will be used in combination with the standard masks currently used in volume semiconductor device manufacturing.

The TowerJazz roadmap includes BiCMOS platforms which have both CMOS and bipolar devices on a single wafer and are offered monthly on a foundry basis in multi-project wafer (MPW) runs. The existing BiCMOS platforms are based on 350nm, 180nm and 130nm CMOS nodes, and the variants include HBT device performance at 60, 150, 200 and, most recently, 260GHz. In the multi-year GRATE program, TowerJazz will develop methods for implementing grating and trim exposures in its existing BiCMOS platforms in three stages: to target 200–300GHz devices, 300–400GHz devices, and finally with research on 400–500GHz HBT devices.

TowerJazz has partnered with the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) for novel circuit demonstrations using the new technology platforms and for teaming on extremely high-frequency test and characterization of HBT devices as well as interconnect and passive components such as microstrip lines and MIM capacitors. This high-frequency data and modeling will be the basis for millimeter-wave (mmWave) design kits that enable customers to design and simulate mmWave circuits and products.

In addition, TowerJazz says that it will bring its pure-play specialty wafer foundry approach to the program through MPW runs to allow select, early access to the technology.

“Our team has demonstrated abilities to print sub-90nm features with very good depth of focus, and we are applying these methods to our SiGe BiCMOS technologies,” says TowerJazz executive director David Howard (primary investigator for GRATE). “We look forward to demonstrating novel capabilities and offering these technologies to our customers through our MPW infrastructure.”

Tags: TowerJazz SiGe

Visit: www.towerjazz.com

Visit: www.darpa.mil

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