FD-SOI is alive and kicking judging by yesterday’s announcement from ST COO Jean-Marc Chery that it has signed a new foundry agreement.
FD-SOI’s survival as a contender to finfet depends on its forming an ecosystem around it and one of the most important planks in such an ecosystem is a manufacturing second source.
FD-SOI’s main proponent, ST, has only the limited capacity at Crolles available for FD-SOI.
Some time ago, ST signed up Globalfoundries as a second source, but GloFo never seemed to get stuck in and actually get an FD-SOI line set up.
Yesterday’s announcement ran: “We have just signed a strategic agreement with a top-tier foundry for 28nm FD-SOI technology. This agreement expands the ecosystem, assures the industry of high-volume production of ST’s FD-SOI based IC solutions for faster, cooler, and simpler devices and strengthens the business and financial prospects of the Embedded Processing Solutions Segment.”
So who is it?
Now Samsung would have been the best bet because it acts as a foundry for bulk for ST and it has been working on SOI for nearly a decade.
But actually, so I am told, it’s SMIC.
Apparently the China government is prepared to financially support FD-SOI manufacturing so long as the wafers are made in China, either at a new SOITEC factory to be established in China or, preferably, by a Chinese owned licensee.