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  • STMicroelectronics, Samsung Foundry’s New Process Technology Breaks 20nm Barrier

    Surf-Tech CalcuQuote 22
    • This technology improves power consumption, enables larger memory sizes and higher integration of peripherals.
    • The first microcontroller based on this technology will be optimised for machine learning and digital signal processing applications.

    STMicroelectronics has announced a new process technology to design and build transistors  for next-generation embedded processing devices. The advanced technology is based on 18nm fully depleted silicon on insulator (FD-SOI) process with embedded phase change memory (ePCM). This has brought down feature size to 18nm from 20nm.

    Co-developed with Samsung Foundry, this technology improves power consumption, enables larger memory sizes and higher integration of peripherals. The technology offers significant improvements over the currently in use 40nm eNVM (embedded non-volatile memory) technology.

    The technology provides more than 50% better performance-to-power ratio which is a significant reduction in power consumption. In FD-SOI technology, the channel (provides path for conduction in a transistor) is depleted of majority carriers (responsible for conduction) in off state, which reduces leakage current. As the silicon layer rests on an insulator, interference is also reduced.

    The ePCM technology uses the change in phase of a material to store data. This allows for more on chip space for memory and peripherals. The technology used by ST provides 2.5 times higher non-volatile memory density and three times higher digital density for integration of digital peripherals,

    The technology has also led to 3dB improvement in noise figure which boosts RF(radio frequency) performance in wireless microcontroller units (MCUs). It also supports 3V operation for analog features and delivers the reliability required for demanding industrial applications like high-temperature operation, radiation hardening, and data retention capabilities.

    Remi El-Ouazzane, President of Microcontrollers, Digital ICs and RF products Group at STMicroelectronics, said: “ST has pioneered and brought to our customers FD-SOI and PCM technologies for automotive and aerospace applications. We are now taking the next step to bring the benefits of these technologies to developers of industrial applications starting with our next-generation STM32 microcontrollers.”

    Microcontrollers based on this technology will provide developers with high-performance, low-power, and wireless MCUs. They will support edge AI processing, multi-protocol RF stacks, over-the-air updates, and advanced security features. The technology will also enable the use of more highly integrated and cost-effective microcontrollers for designs currently using microprocessors.

    The first microcontroller based on this technology, STM32, will integrate the most advanced ARM Cortex-M core, optimised for machine learning and digital signal processing applications. It will have fast and flexible external memory interfaces, advanced graphic capabilities, numerous analog and digital peripherals, and advanced, certified security features.

    STM32 will be sampled to selected customers in the second half of 2024, with production planned for the second half of 2025.

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