Toshiba, Sony, NEC develop 45 nm production platform

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener

San Francisco (CA) - Toshiba, Sony and NEC announced that the companies have completed the development of a mass-production platform for 45 nm LSI devices.

The announcement was made at this year's International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) in San Francisco, which focused heavily on the 45 nm production process, which will succeed the current 65 nm generation. The firms said that the production platform uses a renovated MOSFET integration scheme and continues to rely on a deep ultra violet (DUV) circuit printing process that uses 193 nm light sources as well as a low dielectric constant (low-k) film.

The companies provided no details on LSIs that could result from this production process, but mentioned that 45 nm transistors would be about 30% faster than "the present generation of technology." So far, the companies claim to have produced SRAM validation chips in 45 nm. The cell size, according to a press release, was 0.248 μm2 in size, significantly smaller than the 0.346 μm2 cells of the industry's first 45 nm SRAM chip.

However, that chip - built by Intel - was produced almost one year ago and Intel may have reached improved results since then. The processor manufacturer is on track to introduce 45 nm processors in Q4 of 2007 and is likely to become the first semiconductor company to mass-produce 45 nm devices. Toshiba, Sony and NEC did not say when they will be able to produce commercial 45 nm silicon, but said that the three companies are simultaneously developing two 45nm processes: Besides the already completed process for high-performance LSIs, the firms are also working on platform for lower power LSIs, which is expected to be completed by early 2007.