At the annual Design Automation Conference IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced new semiconductor products that leverage several IBM-generated chip technology breakthroughs. One of these offerings, IBM’s new Cu-45 High Performance Custom Chip (ASIC), represents the commercial introduction of Silicon On Insulator (SOI) technology — historically only used for high performance microprocessors — into communications, consumer and other major market segments. In addition, the Cu-45HP ASIC offering is the first commercial use of a new generation of embedded dynamic random access memory (eDRAM) implemented in Silicon-on-Insulator (SOI) technology — an innovation introduced February 2007 at the International Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC).
ASIC’s are specialized semiconductors designed to allow clients to differentiate their products in industries that include aerospace, defense, storage, consumer electronics, networking devices and other image-intensive, multi-media applications. A chip designed solely to run in a cell phone is an example of an ASIC.
SOI technology — which has been part of six generations of Power Architecture processors in IBM server products — provides up to a 30 percent performance boost compared with industry standard complementary metal-oxide (CMOS) technology.
IBM’s new 45nm eDRAM technology implemented in SOI can dramatically improve on-processor memory performance in about one-third the space with one-fifth the standby power of conventional SRAM (static random access memory).
Also being announced today are three additional digital and analog IBM semiconductor product offerings targeting mobile handsets and other wireless products — including the capability to further on-chip integration for improved cost, performance and density:
- SiGe BiCMOS 5PAe – this silicon germanium-based analog offering is the first-ever IBM product based on the IBM through-silicon via technology and can lower costs for clients who are designing power amplifiers for cell phones, wireless phones and WLAN/WiMAX applications.
- CMOS 11LP – optimized for lower device leakage for handset design, the offering includes performance and low leakage SRAM, two standard cell libraries, and is built on state-of-the-art immersion photolithography technology.
- SiGe BiCMOS 6WL technology – a cost-optimized version of existing IBM technology aimed at bringing value to clients demanding high performance analog for high-volume consumer applications including mobile phones, WLAN, and global positioning devices.
“The market can now take advantage of chip products that harness IBM’s leadership in research and innovation,” said Tom Reeves, vice president, IBM GES Semiconductors and Services. “From the first ASIC SOI chip at 45nm to the use of the new eDRAM and chip integration technologies, the advances that are part of these new semiconductor offerings enable flexible, cost-effective products that enhance the value of customized IBM semiconductor solutions.”
IBM SiGe BiCMOS 6WL design kits are available now. IBM plans to have SiGe BiCMOS 5PAe design kits available this summer and first design kits for CMOS 11LP Foundry products later in 2007. The planned availability date for Cu-45HP ASIC is in early 2008.
IBM innovations in microelectronics and the company’s groundbreaking system-on-a-Chip designs have transformed the world of semiconductors. IBM breakthroughs include High-k, which enhances the transistor’s function while allowing it to be shrunk beyond today’s limits, dual-core and multi-core microprocessors, copper on-chip wiring, silicon-on-insulator and silicon germanium transistors, strained silicon, and eFUSE, a technology that enables computer chips to automatically respond to changing conditions. The White House has awarded IBM the National Medal of Technology, the nation’s highest technical honor, for 40 years of innovation in semiconductors.
IBM chips are the heart of the company’s server and storage systems, the world’s fastest supercomputers and many of the best known and widely used communications and consumer electronics brands.