X-FAB Silicon Foundries SE, the leading analog/mixed-signal and specialty foundry has announced that it is broadening the scope of its cooperation with the EUROPRACTICE Consortium which counts high-profile institutions such as Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits and imec as members.
Initiated by the European Commission almost 25 years ago, the main objective of EUROPRACTICE is to provide industry and research establishments with a platform for advanced, highly-integrated microelectronic systems that can be developed with much smaller entry barriers. The leading-edge engineering institutes that make up this consortium span across the European Union, with locations in Germany, Belgium, France, the UK and Ireland.
X-FAB first became involved in the EUROPRACTICE program in 2014, and since then has been offering multi-project wafer (MPW) shuttle runs for several of its most popular semiconductor processes. These activities have been coordinated by imec.
With the expansion of its participation in the program, X-FAB will be able to provide MPW runs for a much wider selection of technologies. These will include, for example, the company's XH035 0.35µm high-voltage process and its XR013 0.13µm RF SOI process for advanced RF applications. It will also cover the utilization of an array of unique supporting software tools that facilitate IC design and implementation procedures to enable first-time-right design.
The expansion of the program means that EUROPRACTICE community participants, whether they are from academia or start-up companies, can gain access to the latest cutting-edge technologies offered by X-FAB with features such as 200V devices on trench silicon-on-insulator (SOI), etc. There are also plans for certain micro-electro mechanical system (MEMS) options to be added to the portfolio in the near future.
The engineering staff at X-FAB will also be providing hands-on training on the processes relating to the EUROPRACTICE program to help ensure that first-time-right designs are achieved on X-FAB's process design kits (PDKs). The training sessions will be conducted on a regular basis, either in Erfurt, Germany or at one of the consortium members' sites (the first one having already taken place at imec).
As Dr. Jens Kosch, CTO of X-FAB, explains: "We already have a successful track record of 87 designs being taken to production over the past five years as part of the MPW service for EUROPRACTICE. It has helped to encourage greater innovation and creativity at the chip level, as well as significantly reducing the financial obstacles that can potentially be faced. This is why we are pleased to further our commitment to the program."
"Thanks to the extensive 'More-than-Moore' technology portfolio that the company has built up and its strong European presence, X-FAB continues to be a greatly valued foundry partner for the EUROPRACTICE program," adds Dr. Romano Hoofman, Program Director imec Innovation Services and General Manager EUROPRACTICE. "We greatly appreciate the flexibility and creativity shown by its technical team in these MPW projects, and are looking forward to this next stage of our collaboration."