IBM unveils 0.13-micron process technology

East Fishkill, New York–Using advanced chipmaking technology, IBM Corp. has begun producing powerful new microchips for servers, communications gear, and pervasive computing products.

The new technology, named CMOS 9S, combines IBM innovations in copper wiring, silicon-on-insulator (SOI) transistors, and improved, low-k dielectric insulation to build chip circuits as small as 0.13 micron–nearly 800 times thinner than a human hair. The smaller circuitry and improved materials provide more processing power on a single chip, according to IBM, helping electronic products to support new, performance-hungry applications like speech recognition, fingerprint authentication, and wireless video.

CMOS 9S is optimized to manufacture complex chips containing hundreds of millions of high-speed transistors and miles of microscopic copper wiring. The technology features the smallest SRAM memory cell in production at 2.16-sq-microns, which allows for more high-performance memory to be placed directly onto a chip, resulting in faster, more efficient processors.

CMOS 9S is the only 0.13-micron technology to take advantage of the performance benefits of SOI, IBM reports, which dramatically improves transistor performance–up to 35%–by providing an insulating layer in the silicon base of a chip, thereby isolating the transistor and improving the flow of electrical current to the chip’s circuitry.

When combined with up to nine layers of copper wiring in IBM’s CMOS 9S, SOI can be used to meet higher performance and/or lower power requirements required by 0.13-micron chip designs. By boosting chip performance and reducing chip power requirements, SOI is critical for chips that will power a wide range of products, such as Internet servers or wireless communications gear.

CMOS 9S also uses IBM’s low-k dielectric insulation–to shield millions of individual copper circuits on a chip, which reduces electrical interference between wires that can hinder chip performance and waste power, according to IBM.

First customer shipments are planned for early 2001.


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