2011 & SOI: Doing It.
Posted date : Jan 5, 2011

What will 2011 bring in the world of SOI? The hot topic will no doubt be FD-SOI – the planar, fully-depleted SOI solution that’s the top contender for mobile, low power and SoC apps at the 22nm node. You’ll be learning about how it will maximize performance, manufacturability and reduce overall cost. The pieces are all in place – the wafers, transistor designs and models are ready to roll – and from a design perspective, it’s pretty much transparent.

On the more immediate front, my personal crystal ball reveals great inroads into ever-broader areas. As always there’s exciting activity in high-performance systems, gaming consoles and the like, but there’s a lot more beyond that, too.

Embedded markets – the need for higher performance and lower power is answered with things like expanded foundry offerings from IBM, growing support from the ARM community, and high-volume chip production from leaders like Freescale and NXP. Great opps for apps in high-temp, automotives, imaging & RF, too.

Lighting – NXP’s solutions for major improvements in compact fluorescents (CFLs) will raise the bar for the designers in the massive lighting industry.

Power management – at the intersection of analog and digital, traction is growing in this quiet but significant corner of the embedded world, lead by Infineon, NXP, ST, IBM and more.

MEMSST’s airbag sensors and Debiotech’s insulin delivery systems are examples of the sorts of very cool, leading-edge apps now heading out into the real world.

On the design front, the message that SOI is evolutive, transparent, and cost-effective (not elitist, complex and expensive) will gain momentum in the greater design community. With the opportunities that SOI brings for lowering power and boosting performance, 2011 is the year the fabless folks really start to do it.

In the current issue of ASN (#16), VLSI President Risto Puhakka sees good growth this year, with critical mass hitting at the 32nm transition.

What do you see? How will you be using SOI this year? What about FD-SOI at 22nm? Leave us a comment and let us know.

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