UMC claims move to metal-gate process for 32nm

Taiwanese foundry UMC has claimed it has made static memory (SRAM) chips using a high-k/metal-gate process at 45nm as part of a project to introduce the technology for forthcoming 32nm and 28nm process nodes.

“UMC is making steady progress in bringing our [high-k/metal-gate] process towards 32/28nm pilot production so that our customers can benefit from the performance advantages of this technology,” said SC Chien, vice president of advanced technology development at UMC, who added that the 32nm and 28nm processes should become available in 2010.

UMC said it produced the 28nm SRAM chips based on a so-called low-leakage process using a polysilicon gate. The chips were produced using double-patterning immersion lithography. Similar to market leader TSMC, UMC aims to provide both conventional polysilicon-gate and high-k/metal-gate processes around the 30nm point. IBM and the Common Platform partners are concentrating on the metal-gate technology.

UMC said the polysilicon-gate process will suit portable applications such as mobile phone ICs, whereas the high-k/metal-gate stack is primarily aimed at speed-intensive products such as graphics and general-purpose processors as well as high-speed communication ICs. However, UMC will produce a variant of the metal-gate process that runs at lower voltages for low-power operation.

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