20 May 2022
GlobalFoundries unveils GF Labs to accelerate technology innovation
At its annual GF Technology Summit (GTS) in San Jose, CA, GlobalFoundries of Malta, NY, USA (which has operations in Singapore, Germany and the USA) has announced the launch of GF Labs, a new program that aims to extend the development horizon of its semiconductor technology and broaden its portfolio of feature-rich solutions. GF Labs will focus on advancing new technology and long-term roadmap differentiation with the aim of enabling GF customers to develop innovative products and accelerate their time-to-market.
Targeted technology megatrends include the Internet of Things (IoT), 5G, 6G, cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI), quantum computing and next-generation automotive, all of which will propel semiconductor market revenue to more than $1.3 trillion by the end of the decade, forecasts International Business Strategies.
GF has a track record of innovating materials such as FD-SOI (fully depleted silicon-on-insulator) on 22FDX (22nm fully depleted silicon-on-insulator), and novel device architectures that enabled the launch in March of GF Fotonix, the firm’s next-generation silicon photonics platform.
GF Labs is intended to expand and accelerate this momentum by creating an open framework of internal and external R&D initiatives that deliver a pipeline of market-driven process technology solutions for future data-centric, connected, intelligent and secure applications.
“Fostering semiconductor innovation is critical to delivering a differentiated technology portfolio that will continue to fuel emerging markets,” says Gregg Bartlett, GF’s senior VP of technology, engineering and quality. “Our focus is on making sure we’re always developing the latest technologies that provide meaningful differentiation for our customers, not just in the near-term but far into the next decade.”
GF has a track record of building partnerships with startup innovators, industry consortia, material suppliers, universities and government entities worldwide. Leveraging GF’s patent portfolio and technical expertise in digital, analog, mixed-signal, RF and embedded memory, GF Labs will harvest capabilities from a broad research platform including the Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre (IMEC) in Belgium, Fraunhofer in Germany, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in the USA, and the Institute for Microelectronics in Singapore, along with a broad network of university partnerships.
R&D within GF Labs is underway with a range of technology capabilities and solutions already in development such as radio frequency silicon-on-insulator (RFSOI) and silicon-germanium (SiGe). GF will continue to invest to expand and develop tailored solutions, with GF Labs serving as the R&D engine accelerating solutions based on wide-bandgap semiconductors that go beyond the traditional approach of shrinking transistors. Additional program details and partners will be announced in second-half 2022.
“IQE’s collaboration with GF on gallium nitride (GaN) accelerates the development of differentiated technology platforms that enable smart mobile devices, wireless infrastructure, power electronics and next-generation displays,” comments Americo Lemos, CEO of epiwafer and substrate maker IQE plc of Cardiff, UK.
“Micledi has developed a unique and innovative solution for micro-LED arrays,” says Soeren Steudel, chief technology officer of Micledi Microdisplays. “Our technology is based on an innovative combination of III/V materials processing, 3D integration and 300mm silicon-based processing combined with a proprietary ASIC to provide a self-contained, compact monolithic AR [augmented reality] display with high image quality and power efficiency. Our partnership with GF is enabling future AR devices and revolutionizing how digital information is delivered to consumers,” he adds.
“SOITEC and GF’s close collaboration on state-of-the-art RFSOI and FD-SOI substrate development continues to set the pace for the introduction of market-leading solutions for each generation of mobile connectivity standards,” reckons SOITEC’s chief operating officer Bernard Asper.
“GF technologies made 5G mm-wave possible with 45RSOI and 22FDX processes first used by universities and then by most companies in 5G and SATCOM. It is now taking steps to establish a leadership position in 6G,” remarks Gabriel M. Rebeiz Ph.D., Distinguished Professor and the Wireless Communications Industry Endowed Chair at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). “We’ve been collaborating on a broad set of high-risk, high-payoff research projects leveraging the unparalleled benefits of FD-SOI, RF-SOI and SiGe technology with demonstrated phased-arrays and transceivers up to 180GHz and, together, we are pushing the limits,” he adds. “GF has been a great partner, with an accurate design kit at greater than 100GHz. They also support innovative work and enable the successful demonstration of complex 6G systems.”