15 March 2018
GlobalFoundries extends silicon photonics roadmap to meet demand for data-center connectivity
© Semiconductor Today Magazine / Juno PublishiPicture: Disco’s DAL7440 KABRA laser saw.
GlobalFoundries of Santa Clara, CA, USA (one of the world’s largest semiconductor foundries, with operations in Singapore, Germany and the USA) has revealed new details of its silicon photonics roadmap to enable the next generation of optical interconnects for data-center and cloud applications. The firm has now qualified what is claimed to be the first 90nm manufacturing process using 300mm wafers, while also unveiling its upcoming 45nm technology to deliver greater bandwidth and energy efficiency.
GlobalFoundries’ silicon photonics technologies are designed to support the massive growth in data transmitted across global communication infrastructure.
“The explosive need for bandwidth is fueling demand for a new generation of optical interconnects,” says Mike Cadigan, senior VP of sales and ASIC business unit. “Our silicon photonics technologies enable customers to deliver unprecedented levels of connectivity for transferring massive amounts of data, whether it’s between chips inside a data center or across cloud servers separated by hundreds and even thousands of miles,” he adds. “When combined with our advanced ASIC and packaging capabilities, these technologies allow us to deliver highly differentiated solutions to this marketplace.”
GlobalFoundries’ silicon photonics technologies enable the integration of optical components side-by-side with electrical circuits on a single silicon chip. This monolithic approach leverages standard silicon manufacturing techniques to improve production efficiency and reduce cost for deploying optical interconnect systems.
GlobalFoundries’ current-generation silicon photonics offering is built on its 90nm RF silicon-on-insulator (SOI) process, which leverages its experience in manufacturing high-performance radio-frequency chips. The platform can enable solutions that provide 30GHz of bandwidth to support client-side data rates of up to 800Gbps, as well as long-reach capabilities of up to 120km.
Previously manufactured using 200mm wafer processing, the technology has now been qualified on larger-diameter 300mm wafers at GlobalFoundries’ Fab 10 facility in East Fishkill, NY. The migration to 300mm enables more customer capacity, greater manufacturing productivity, and up to a 2x reduction in photonic losses to improve reach and enable more efficient optical systems.
The 90nm technology is supported by a full process design kit (PDK) for E/O/E co-design, polarization, temperature and wavelength parametrics from Cadence Design Systems, as well as differentiated photonic test capabilities including five test sectors from technology verification and modeling to multi-chip module (MCM) product test.
GlobalFoundries’ next-generation monolithic silicon photonics offering will be manufactured on its 45nm RF SOI process, with production slated for 2019. By leveraging the more advanced 45nm node, the technology will enable reduced power, smaller form factor and significantly higher-bandwidth optical transceiver products to address next-generation terabit applications.