STMicroectronics and GlobalFoundries have announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding for the establishment of a new, jointly operated semiconductor plant on 300 mm FD-SOI substrates. The plant will be built next to the existing STM plant in Kroll, France. It is noteworthy that the FD-SOI technology was born in Kroll and will now be strengthened near the research centre where it appeared.
The decision to build a plant with a focus on processing FD-SOI plates, a silicon substrate in a fully impoverished cell block, is based on both hard needs and good prospects for this technology. Both companies have stopped at subduing the nanometers. GlobalFoundries has not gone down with the development of the process below 12 nm, while STMicroectronics has stopped at 22 nm.
However, in the case of FD-SOI, GlobalFundries has also failed to develop a mass production of chips below 22 nm. It can be expected that the company's new joint plant will also start production with 22 nm technological standards, although in the long run, partners expect to start a process with 18 nm standards.
Silicon in a fully impoverished cell, by drastically reducing leak currents, leads to an impressive increase in productivity and a marked decrease in energy consumption. This means that chips on FD-SOI plates with 22 nm standards, and even with planar transistors, will be slightly worse than 14 or even 12 nm chips using FinFET transistors. And 18 nm chips on FD-SOI plates will be able to compete with 10 nm solutions, and they will be somewhat cheaper and easier, which means that the level of marriage will be lower.
The partners in the press release promise "ten years" to produce the required products without reducing technological production standards, which sounds a little threatening when you remember how nervous the industry is about the likely death of Moore's law and its consequences.
The company ' s signed document does not contain the amounts of investment and data on the beginning of the plant ' s construction; it is only stated that the company is expected to be operational in 2026; when the plant is fully operational, it will be able to process 51,600 mm of plates every month. In a joint venture, STMicroelectronics will own 42% of the shares and GlobalFoundries 58%. According to previously reported investment in the plant could amount to $5.7 billion.