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Global Foundries Demonstrates 3D TSV Capabilities on 20 nm Processors

By - Source: TechPowerUp | B 23 comments

Global Foundries' TSV technologies will allow multiple chips to be stacked on top of each other and provide an avenue for "delivering the demanding performance, power, and bandwidth requirements of today's electronic devices"

Global Foundries has demonstrated its first functional 20 nm silicon wafers with integrated Through-Silicon Vias (TSVs) and reached a key milestone in the company's plan to enable 3D stacking of chips for next generation mobile and consumer applications.

TSVs are vertical vias etched in a silicon wafer that are filled with a conducting material, enabling communication between vertically stacked integrated circuits. The adoption of three-dimensional (3D) chip stacking is considered to be a viable alternative to traditional technology node scaling at the transistor level.

"Our industry has been talking about the promise of 3D chip stacking for years, but this development is another sign that the promise will soon be a reality," said David McCann, vice president of packaging R&D at GLOBAL FOUNDRIES. "Our next step is to leverage Fab 8's advanced TSV capabilities in conjunction with our OSAT partners to assemble and qualify 3D test vehicles for our open supply chain model, providing customers with the flexibility to choose their preferred back-end supply chain."

To overcome some of the technology's development challenges, Global Foundries has utilized a "via-middle" approach to TSV integration, inserting the TSVs into the silicon after the wafers have completed the Front End of the Line (FEOL) flow and prior to starting the Back End of the Line (BEOL) process. This approach avoids the high temperatures of the FEOL manufacturing process, allowing the use of copper as the TSV fill material. To overcome the challenges associated with the migration of TSV technology from 28 nm to 20 nm, the company has developed a proprietary contact protection scheme that enables the TSVs to be integrated with minimal disruption to the 20 nm LPM platform technology.

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  • 6 Hide
    slomo4sho , April 4, 2013 12:51 PM
    Now to address the issue of heat dispersion associated with chip stacking.
  • 0 Hide
    roflplatypus , April 4, 2013 12:52 PM
    cool, i hope they have this for AMD's piledriver.
  • -8 Hide
    ikyung , April 4, 2013 1:27 PM
    The silicon era is slowly coming to an end.
  • 6 Hide
    InvalidError , April 4, 2013 1:42 PM
    slomo4shoNow to address the issue of heat dispersion associated with chip stacking.

    Simple enough: if they stack DRAM/NAND which are rather quite low-power compared to CPUs, they just need to put the CPU on the top-most layer so it can make contact with whatever heatsink/heat-spreader the application has available.
  • -4 Hide
    madjimms , April 4, 2013 1:42 PM
    roflplatypuscool, i hope they have this for AMD's piledriver.


    I thought AMD left Global Foundries...
  • 7 Hide
    InvalidError , April 4, 2013 1:49 PM
    ikyungThe silicon era is slowly coming to an end.

    There is a good 15-20 years left in it and there are no guarantees that there will be a cost-effective replacement ready before then.
  • -7 Hide
    griptwister , April 4, 2013 2:06 PM
    madjimmsI thought AMD left Global Foundries...

    The did. Lol, this guy must of been living under a rock or something.
  • 5 Hide
    athulajp , April 4, 2013 2:48 PM
    griptwisterThe did. Lol, this guy must of been living under a rock or something.


    Wait, AMD doesn't use Global Foundries anymore? I know they are separate entities now but i thought they still manufactured AMD's CPU's.
  • 3 Hide
    A Bad Day , April 4, 2013 2:56 PM
    athulajpWait, AMD doesn't use Global Foundries anymore? I know they are separate entities now but i thought they still manufactured AMD's CPU's.


    AMD still does kinda use GF. It's just that the AMD-GF relationship has downgraded to "old couples non-stop bickering".
  • 6 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , April 4, 2013 3:01 PM
    athulajpWait, AMD doesn't use Global Foundries anymore? I know they are separate entities now but i thought they still manufactured AMD's CPU's.

    They do, I'm not sure what madjimms and griptwister are referring to. Maybe they're thinking of AMD's E series APU's, but I'm not sure how that translates into AMD leaving GF. AMD still relies on GF for a lot of their manufacturing, and will probably continue to for the foreseeable future.
  • 0 Hide
    dalethepcman , April 4, 2013 3:07 PM
    slomo4shoNow to address the issue of heat dispersion associated with chip stacking.
    Exactly, This might be great for extremely low power/high efficiency workloads, but I wouldn't expect ground breaking GHZ unless you operating these i submersed in liquified gas.
  • 1 Hide
    The_Trutherizer , April 4, 2013 3:18 PM
    This is... exactly what I have been waiting for.
  • -1 Hide
    Wisecracker , April 4, 2013 3:42 PM

    AMD has their own 3D IP.

    Not sure if this is a demonstration of it -- or something that GloFlo cooked-up on their own.

  • 1 Hide
    A Bad Day , April 4, 2013 3:49 PM
    dragonsqrrlThey do, I'm not sure what madjimms and griptwister are referring to. Maybe they're thinking of AMD's E series APU's, but I'm not sure how that translates into AMD leaving GF. AMD still relies on GF for a lot of their manufacturing, and will probably continue to for the foreseeable future.


    If you looked at AMD's SEC filing, you'll noticed that they cut back on a lot of payments to GF due to GF not being able to produce enough quality silicon dies when AMD needed them.
  • 3 Hide
    hector2 , April 4, 2013 4:57 PM
    20nm will be hard enough for GF to get decent yields on without adding TSV
  • 0 Hide
    nieur , April 4, 2013 6:11 PM
    TSMC must also be having similar technology to develop maxwell chip
  • 0 Hide
    bit_user , April 4, 2013 10:02 PM
    Something tells me memory bandwidth of mobile SoC's is about to go through the roof!

    BTW, IBM's Power 7 server/mainframe CPU is already using similar tech.
  • 0 Hide
    Uberragen21 , April 4, 2013 10:34 PM
    dalethepcman liquified gas.

    Now there's an oxymoron if I've ever seen one.
  • 1 Hide
    ojas , April 4, 2013 11:03 PM
    OHHHHH This is what Nvidia's using for Volta!

    Uberragen21Now there's an oxymoron if I've ever seen one.

    I thumbed you up but then i realised i shouldn't have; gas is a fluid not a liquid.
  • 0 Hide
    vaughn2k , April 5, 2013 12:06 AM
    InvalidErrorSimple enough: if they stack DRAM/NAND which are rather quite low-power compared to CPUs, they just need to put the CPU on the top-most layer so it can make contact with whatever heatsink/heat-spreader the application has available.

    Why not integrate this in a chip instead of stacking them (same as what the APU is today). That is the purpose of miniaturiazation (nanotech) and eliminate assembly cost.
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