CEA, Soitec and STMicroelectronics collaborate with GlobalFoundries on the next generation of FD-SOI

CEA-Leti, Soitec, STMicroelectronics and GlobalFoundries have just announced a new collaboration agreement around the FD-SOI technology (totally depleted silicon on insulator), developed in Grenoble and at the base, among other things, of the creation of Soitec. It must enable, according to the joint statement, “define the roadmap for the next generation of FD-SOI technology“, particularly for automotive, Internet of Things and mobile applications. A much-needed alliance to meet the challenges of ever-increasing miniaturization, of technologies that must also be increasingly energy efficient. So many issues at the heart of the European “Chips Act” announced last February. A major plan intended to regain sovereignty in the field of chips. One of the objectives is to be able to burn in 10, or even 7, nanometers, when the competing technology (FinFET) already engraves in 4 and soon 3 nanometers.

Three of the 4 European “pillars” are in Isère

In this context, the presence of GlobalFoundries, the world’s second largest semiconductor foundry behind the Taiwanese ultra-leader TSMC, is important. Admittedly, it is still in Dresden (Germany), where it is already present, that the American company announces its future 12-nanometer factory – where Intel has also announced its future major European location – but the agreement also reinforces in a sense the Grenoble basin, the cradle of FD-SOI technology, and on whose territory are the 3 other “pillars” which will perhaps make it possible to move towards European sovereignty in terms of chips. Through this agreement, CEA-Leti – where a “pilot line” for the next generation will be installed – remains a major player in research. Soitec – and its recently launched new site Soitec 4 – remains the main supplier of substrates, and STMicroelectronics – which is also expanding its Crolles site – remains a “major user”. The Franco-Italian, who today engraves in 28nm in Crolles, is collaborating with Samsung to switch, in Isère, to 18nm and is already calling on GlobalFoundries for 22nm.

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