FMC's business model is one of licensing intellectual property and taking royalties on a per chip basis. And to this end the company has divided its offering in to three strata. One is process-related IP such as the hafnium chemistry recipe. The second is transistor device level IP. The third strata of IP is design or circuit based. "We license these various pools of IP to the foundries, the fabless chip companies and to the IDMs [integrated device manufacturers," he said.
Roadmap for the introduction of FeFET technology. Source: FMC
Pourkeramati said first silicon for consumer applications will come in 2023 and on 28nm planar CMOS. A move to 22nm FinFET and/or FDSOI would happen after that and with other sectors coming on in subsequent years.
Considering FMC was founded in 2016 and it is now 2020 FMC's roadmap appears somewhat conservative. "These things take time; time in development and time to market. We think this is reasonable and acceptable. If you want to develop in FinFET then work with us to go through the nodes as quickly as possible," said Pourkeramati.
It is noticeable that ferroelectric memory is becoming a hot topic in academic circles and numerous large semiconductor companies are talking about the technology (see IMEC, ferroelectrics prominent in virtual IEDM program and Sony, Kioxia pursue ferroelectric non-volatile memory). Is there a risk that with FMC having done much of the pioneering work with hafnium oxide and zirconium-doped hafnium oxide for memory others could reap the benefits?
Pourkeramati said not and that FMC's patent position is comprehensive covering both hafnium and zirconium.
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