Partnership through USC Information Sciences Institute's MOSIS Service will offer multi-project-wafer runs for microelectronics by combining MOSIS Service integrated circuits manufacturing services with Samsung's foundry device fabrication technology
October 22, 2019 -- USC Viterbi's Information Sciences Institute and the foundry business at Samsung Electronics announced a collaboration today to design and fabricate integrated circuits through USC ISI's The MOSIS Service using multi-project-wafer runs.
The collaboration combines MOSIS's industry-leading integrated circuit manufacturing expertise with Samsung's high-performance complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) and fully-depleted silicon-on-insulator (FD-SOI) fabrication technologies. It positions ISI and Samsung's advanced technologies to lead a new era of high-performance microelectronic design and manufacturing for the U.S. and the global integrated-circuits community.
"This is a significant event for the U.S. microelectronic research and development community" said ISI Senior. Director John Damoulakis. "With this opportunity, the U.S. Government, R&D laboratories, companies, and academia in the U.S. will have access to Samsung's advanced fabrication technologies through MOSIS using the S2-Line in Austin, TX. "
"The Samsung-supported rich ecosystem for both design and fabrication of microelectronic circuits will undoubtedly contribute significantly not only for providing U.S.-based options to the designers, but also for stimulating the microelectronics resurgence and innovation in the U.S," said Lifu Chang, The MOSIS Service Director.
ISI's Executive Director, Craig Knoblock echoed this statement,"There are intense, heavily-funded microelectronic activities throughout the world. Unless the U.S. offers the right ecosystem for integrated circuits design and fabrication to its innovators here in the U.S., there is a real danger that we may fall behind in advanced electronic products that drive a new generation of emerging applications centered on artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, etc."
"The collaboration between Samsung and MOSIS ensures that U.S. microelectronic innovators will have at their disposal a rich portfolio of intellectual property modules for integrated circuit designs and many options of advanced fabrication technologies," said Ryan Lee, Vice President of Foundry Marketing at Samsung Electronics. "That way, their applications can be rapidly and cost effectively materialized, which is essential to foster innovation in the U.S. industrial base."
About the Technology
The Samsung-MOSIS collaboration involves, for now, the 28nm FD-SOI, eMRAM based on 28nm FD-SOI, 65nm eFlash Bulk CMOS, and 130nm CMOS semiconductor manufacturing processes. For each of these technologies, there are available many application-dependent options, mature process development kits, and comprehensive libraries (offered either by Samsung, or 3rd party vendors) for both "soft" (high-level synthesis) and "physical" (back-end) intellectual property modules that designers can use to realize their integrated circuits.
Whereas 14nm FinFET is at the moment a hot topic, there are other advanced process technologies that designers need, particularly, if the application requires special considerations in the chip design (e.g., ultra-low power). Samsung's 28nm FD-SOI offers these options. It is one of those unique technologies that allows for the continuation of Moore's Law with an upgrade to traditional planar semiconductor process technology. Samsung's particular version of FD-SOI delivers a nice balance of higher performance with low power and is well suited for a variety of defense and commercial application areas (RF, mobile, IOT, sensors, automotive, controllers, etc.).
As eFlash has faced scalability challenges due to a charge storage-based operation, Samsung's eMRAM is the most promising successor, since its resistance-based operation allows strong scalability. The memory also possesses outstanding technical characteristics, such as non-volatility, random access, and strong endurance. The combination of Samsung's 28nm FD-SOI with eMRAM offers solutions of unprecedented power and speed advantages with lower cost and better transistor control and leakage minimization. Overall, Samsung's eMRAM solutions provide differentiated benefits for a variety of applications including microcontroller units, internet of things, artificial intelligence, sensors, etc.; it can be easily integrated into the design of chips using existing design flows.
About USC Viterbi School of Engineering
Engineering studies began at the University of Southern California in 1905. Nearly a century later, in 2004, the Viterbi School of Engineering received a naming gift from alumnus Andrew J. Viterbi, inventor of the Viterbi algorithm, now the key to cell phone technology and numerous data applications.
The school's guiding principle is Engineering-plus, a coined termed by current Dean Yannis C. Yortsos, to use the power of engineering to address the world's greatest challenges. USC Viterbi is ranked among the top engineering programs in the world and enrolls more than 6,500 undergraduate and graduate students taught by 185 tenured and tenure-track faculty, with 73 endowed chairs and professorships.