The Most Advanced U.S. Foundry for Rad-Hard by Process Technologies
SkyWater’s 90 nm Strategic Rad-Hard by Process technologies will set a new standard for hardened microelectronics. Read more below about the developing technology.
Suitable for deepspace deployments
Supports all reliability requirements to meet Strategic Rad-Hard category designation
A range of IP is in development and will enable the modular Rad-SoC solution - available for customer designs in 2021.
A Platform that Enables a Spectrum of Solutions
Early Access Partner Program
90 nm Strategic Rad-Hard Process
Get the Inside Scoop – SkyWater will select a limited number of organizations to participate in an early access partner program for the 90 nm Strategic Rad-Hard by process technology.
$170M Investment for Rad-Hard Technologies
BLOOMINGTON, MN, October 21, 2019 – SkyWater Technology, the innovator’s trusted partner for a competitive edge, announced the US Department of Defense (DOD) is planning to invest up to $170 million for a multi-phase project to enhance microelectronics capabilities for the DoD and the Strategic Radiation Hardened (Rad-Hard) market. SkyWater will be expanding its Trusted Foundry facility to add clean room area and supporting infrastructure to enable this and other complementary technologies.
Frequently Asked Questions on the Recent DoD Investment at SkyWater
The DoD investment will enhance domestic manufacturing capabilities at a U.S.-owned and operated pure-play foundry to ensure government program access to critical microelectronics technologies. Given SkyWater’s heavy emphasis on commercial production, it is well-positioned to bring the new technologies to market quickly with high quality manufacturing.
The funds will be used to develop a new 90 nm radhard electronics platform and to add copper interconnect processing capability to SkyWater’s facility. In addition to new tooling and technology development, part of the project funding will combine with other customer funds to enable SkyWater to expand its facility.
The DoD is investing up to $170M in a multi-phase project; the first phase is $80M and will fund purchase of process tooling needed to support a new 90 nm PDSOI (partially depleted silicon on insulator) Strategic Rad-Hard process technology, add dual-damascene copper processing capability and partially fund expansion of the cleanroom area and supporting infrastructure. The funding will also support engineering development of the technologies. Details of future program phases are not yet disclosed but includes plans to stand up a 65 nm process offering.
The DoD does not take a SkyWater equity holding position as a result of the program funding.
The new rad-hard process will improve performance by up to 2X (over other currently available Strategic Rad-Hard processes) for devices used in harsh conditions such as space, medical, and energy. This gain is achieved by advancing the process technology to 90 nm for Strategic Rad-Hard electronics from what is currently available in the market which is at 150 nm geometry. Additionally, the use of copper interconnects will serve to increase density for higher performance digital logic and improved performance for analog circuits via lower impedance.
Designs manufactured on the new SkyWater S90RH flow will meet all specifications which define the Strategic Rad-Hard performance designation.
The expansion will encompass more than 60,000 square feet and support up to 15,000 square feet of new cleanroom space for the additional process equipment. This space is larger than what is needed to support the rad-hard and copper processing capabilities; the additional space is being funded by other customers for unique process tooling to support their technology roadmaps.
Construction began in October 2019.
The facility expansion shell will be constructed and closed in late 2019. The new tooling is planned to be operational in Q4 of 2020.
An Early Access Partner (EAP) Program will open in Q1 2020 to qualified customers that express interest in participating in the premarket design environment. This opportunity will allow interested parties to:
- Gain early access to RH90 Process, Design Kits, and IP, for evaluation and testing in its use cases.
- Receive support in the required ASIC or IP development.
- Gain visibility over the development pipeline and influence features and priorities according to Early Access Partner use cases and specific needs.
Customers interested in the new technology can contact SkyWater at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more, request access to the EAP Program and to be put on future information distribution lists.
The Early Access Partner (EAP) Program is planned to open in Q1 of 2020 followed by a production release of the S90RH process in Q3 of 2021.
SkyWater offers a unique value proposition to its customers for addressing medium-volume mixedsignal CMOS and power applications with 200 mm processing cost structures and smaller process geometries than many other foundries support on this wafer size. Furthermore, by adding copper processing to SkyWater’s technology portfolio, processes will support higher density interconnects by taking advantage of the higher conductivity of copper vs. aluminum. This will push performance for digital logic and support lower impedance interconnects to improve analog circuits by means of lower losses, better signal to noise ratio, etc. The addition of copper to the facility also will support future technology roadmap plans for small transistor geometries.
While the investment supports DoD centric aerospace applications, it is also highly relevant for developing commercial space applications, electronics in medical imaging environments or applications that require irradiation type sterilization, and nuclear power applications. Numerous other applications are likely to emerge as well.
In general, SkyWater serves a growing need in the industry for a reliable partner in today’s unpredictable global trade environment by ensuring IP security and supply chain access. In an industry where most semiconductor manufacturing has transitioned offshore, SkyWater stands out as the only U.S.-owned and operated semiconductor contract manufacturer. For customers that value these attributes in a foundry partner, the new processing capabilities at SkyWater enhance access to important mixed-signal technologies.
This project is expected to create 30-50 new jobs in the first phase; initially, process engineering positions will be added, followed by process and maintenance technicians, and tool and fab operators.