SkyWater funded to expand, develop next rad-hard process

October 22, 2019 //By Peter Clarke
SkyWater funded to expand, develop next rad-hard process
The United States Department of Defense plans to spend up to $170 million in a multi-phase project to develop a 90nm radiation-hard manufacturing process with copper interconnect with foundry SkyWater Technology Inc.

No timetable was given for the spending nor a lower estimate of the amount to be spent. SkyWater is the only US-owned and operated Category 1A trusted foundry.

One goal of the project is to produce a rad-hard process that will improve performance by a factor of up to 2X over other currently available strategic rad-hard processes. This process would be applicable to ICs used in harsh conditions such as space, medical imaging. It could also be applied to high performance mixed-signal and interposer technologies for IoT and other emerging applications.

One use of the money is for SkyWater to expand its 200mm wafer fab in Bloomington, Minnesota, by more than 60,000 square feet including up to 15,000 square feet of clean room area. SkyWater also plans to increase its head count by 30 to 50 people.

The rad-hard processes will be based on PDSOI (partially depleted silicon on insulator) technology while the copper interconnect option benefits mixed-signal technologies through higher density logic circuits and reduced losses in analog/RF circuits. Copper interconnect is considered critical to allow SkyWater to create more advanced node geometries at 65nm and 45nm.

"Also, by entering the copper interposer market, we can help narrow the existing gap in North America for advanced packaging solutions and increase the breadth of our technology offerings," said Brad Ferguson, CTO of SkyWater, in a statement.

The PDSOI rad-hard process will be presented at the RHET (Radiation Hardened Electronics Technology) conference on November 6, 2019 by Paul Chopelas, SkyWater senior director of sales.

Related links and articles:

www.skywatertechnology.com

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