STMicroelectronics 28-nm FD-SOI technology achieves 3-GHz operating speed

February 20, 2013 // By Paul Buckley
STMicroelectronics claims to have achieved a major milestone in the company’s testing of its 28 nm FD-SOI Technology Platform.

Application-processor engine devices manufactured at the STMicroelectronics’ Crolles, France fab, are now capable of operating at 3 GHz with even greater power efficiency at a given operating frequency than alternate technologies.

The announcement follows on the heels of recent announcements from other organizations to utilize FD-SOI technologies. Moore’s Law - the observation that the number of transistors on a chip doubled about every two years - has driven the semiconductor industry over the past 50 years to shrink the size of the transistors, which are essentially miniature on/off switches. The increased density from these size reductions have given consumers the explosion of new and more exciting features at lower-cost that we’ve come to expect. In parallel, these new features are able to operate at clock speeds that allow the phones to respond to your commands - by keypad, touchpad, and now voice - almost before you finish expressing the command.

FD-SOI technology is a major breakthrough in the pursuit of miniaturization of electronic circuits, and the achievement of 3 GHz operating speed for an application-processor engine presages the adoption of FD-SOI in portable equipment, digital still cameras, gaming and ASICs for a range of applications. Of the next-generation process technologies, FD-SOI claims to have proven its ability to meet the industry’s highest performance and lowest power demands that are vital to delivering graphics and multimedia that amaze without sacrificing battery life.

“As we had anticipated, FD-SOI is proving to be fast, simple and cool; we had fully expected to see 3GHz operating speeds, the design approach is very consistent with what we had been doing in bulk CMOS, and, with the benefits of fully depleted channels and back biasing, the low-power requirements are also meeting our expectations,” said Jean-Marc Chery, Executive Vice President, General Manager Digital Sector, and Chief Technology and Manufacturing Officer of STMicroelectronics.

Reinforcing the point of simplicity, ST has found porting Libraries and Physical IPs from 28nm