According to the chip foundries the 90nm market will be gaining field during 2004, but wide application of this fabrication process is not expected before the year 2005.
Genda Hu, the vice president for marketing at TSMC said yesterday that the 90nm process is heating up, and is expected to become mainstream next year after foundries have gained more experience in low-k and 12-inch technologies.
A relatively high production cost is the main reason behind IC design companies’ reluctance to adopt the new technology. In response, TSMC has introduced a multi-project wafer (MPW) program, which allows its clients to reduce costs by sharing a single wafer for prototyping. In addition, the company has provided back-end services that can also help reduce the overall costs, Hu said.
Jackson Hu, CEO of United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC), also said that he expected the 90-nm technology to be used by only a limited number of clients this year. For system-on-chip (SoC) developments, UMC has tried to accumulate strengths in intellectual properties (IPs). The company expects wireless communications and digital entertainment segments to be the major driver for developments of next-generation semiconductor technologies, he said.
By 2007, about 40% of the global wafer output will be based on 0.13-micron or below processes, according to Jim Feldhan, president of Semico Research.