GlobalFoundries outlines roadmap, plans to break fab ground

TechOnline India - July 16, 2009

Taking on UMC, TSMC and others, foundry startup GlobalFoundries Inc. has outlined its process roadmap and disclosed plans to break ground on its new U.S. fab by next week.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Taking on UMC, TSMC and others, foundry startup GlobalFoundries Inc. has outlined its process roadmap and disclosed plans to break ground on its new U.S. fab by next week.

On July 24, the foundry startup will break ground on the fab. As previously reported, it plans a $4.5 billion, 300-mm fab in Malta in N.Y.'s Saratoga County that is expected to come online in 2012 with 35,000 wafer starts per month at full capacity.

GlobalFoundries (Sunnyvale, Calif.) is the silicon foundry venture created by the spinoff of Advanced Micro Devices Inc.'s manufacturing operations and backed by an investment from Advanced Technology Investment Co. (ATIC) of Abu Dhabi. It officially opened for business in March.

In the meantime, the company is ramping up its existing fabs in Dresden, Germany, which were once part of AMD. As expected, the company is going after the leading-edge foundry business, thereby competing against UMC, TSMC, and, to some degree, its fab partners in Chartered and Samsung. GlobalFoundries is part of IBM Corp.'s ''fab club,'' which includes Chartered, IBM, Samsung and others.

''We feel we have an opportunity'' despite the downturn, said Tom Sonderman, vice president of manufacturing systems and technology at GlobalFoundries. ''Customers are looking for choices at the leading-edge.''

At present, the company has one fab, dubbed Module 1. It is processing 45-nm wafers, based on silicon-on-insulator (SOI) technology and immersion lithography. Its only customer is AMD.

For critical layers, GlobalFoundries' main lithography vendor is ASML Holding NV. ''We are also engaged with Nikon and Canon,'' Sonderman said. For low-k at 45-nm, the company is using Applied Materials Inc.'s Black Diamond films.

In an interview at Semicon West, Sonderman outlined GlobalFoundries' roadmap: {pagebreak}*Q1 2010. The company plans to ramp a 32-nm process based on SOI and a high-k/metal-gate scheme.

*Q2 2010. It plans to ramp a 45-/40-nm low-power process. The bulk technology will not include SOI or high-k.

*Q4 2010. It plans to offer a 28-nm generic bulk process, based on high-k. It will not include SOI.

*Q1 2011. It hopes to offer a 28-nm low-power bulk process, also based on high-k. The 28-nm processes will ramp in the Dresden fab. The so-called Module 2 plant is capable of making 25,000 wafers per month.

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