GlobalFoundries announces new 5G and Wi-Fi 6/6e chips at tech summit

The company has doubled output of automotive chips and plans to keep on increasing production.

globalfoundries semiconductor wafer 1

Image: GlobalFoundries

GlobalFoundries is using its $6 billion investment in its fabrication plants to produce new chips for 5G phones, data centers and cars, the company announced Wednesday at the GF Technology Summit.

Juan Cordovez, SVP of sales, said in a press release that the company is delivering differentiated solutions that are more intelligent, secure and energy efficient. 

"This past 18 months has demonstrated what a semiconductor is and that they are vital to everything we do," Cordovez said. "This awareness and demand have catalyzed innovation in areas such as automotive and IoT, and this requires a new way of thinking."

In a press briefing on Tuesday, Sept. 14, Cordovez said each element of the semiconductor industry has to adjust to the massive acceleration in demand.

SEE: As the chip shortage continues, companies and governments look for solutions (TechRepublic)

"We see this pervasive deployment as the next great horizon of growth and that will require differentiation and partnerships with customers to have this kind of impact on society and humanity," he said.

Cordovez said GlobalFoundries has recently invested $1 billion in each of the company's plants in Germany and the U.S. and $4 billion in the Singapore foundry.

"We are growing our portfolio so people can innovate on a system level and an application level," he said. 

New products for 5G phones

Peter Gammel, vice president of GF's mobile and wireless infrastructure business unit, said during the press briefing that the company's new agreement with Qualcomm to deliver advanced 5G RF front-end products will enhance the user experience with 5G phones.

SEE: Research: How 5G will transform business (TechRepublic Premium)  

The products for mobile devices include new feature sets for 5G and Wi-Fi 6/6e mobile phones and smart devices:

  • GF RF-SOI sub 6GHz Solutions for stronger 5G connections.
  • GF FDX-RF Solutions for the 5G mmWave generation of devices.
  • GF Wi-Fi Solutions with enhanced RF and Power Amplifier functionality.  
  • GF Display Solutions to enable variable refresh on OLED displays and moderated refresh rates for battery savings.
  • GF Audio Solutions with a non-volatile memory option.
  • GF Imaging Solutions with new features that allow stacked CMOS image sensors with >200 Mpixels of resolution. 

Automotive chips

GF announced that the GF 22FDXTM platform is Auto Grade 1 Ready at Fab 1 in Dresden, Germany.  Mike Hogan, GF's automotive segment leader, said the company is in the process of increasing its supply of automotive chips to unprecedented levels. 

"We are going to double our output to automotive customers and we've made sure that our entire investment portfolio can impact the automotive industry," Hogan said.

He said the industry requires best-in-class sensing technology because no amount of processing power will make a car safer to drive without good sensors. 

"Cars are becoming a smart-phone like experience and power consumption and conservation are the currency of the realm," Hogan said. 

New chips for data centers

GF also announced a new platform and features for more power and energy efficiency: GF's new Silicon Photonics 45nm Platform. Amir Faintuch, senior vice president and general manager at GF, said the company is leading the move from electrons to photonics with the 45nm platform.

"The solutions have passed critical tech milestones and are on track for full technology qualification in Q1 2022," Faintuch said. 

The monolithic platform combines RF CMOS and optical components on the same chip, and includes the first micro ring resonator optical component in 300 mm wafer technology, according to the company.

IoT chips

Finally, the company announced a Microdisplay Solutions for IoT devices that optimize and improve process speed and reduce leakage as well as provide enhanced pixel driver functionality for smaller and lighter augmented reality glasses.

GF Microdisplay Solutions are based on the GF 22FDX+ platform, which has realized more than $7.5 billion in design wins around the world, according to the company. A design win is a metric that tracks how often a chip design is incorporated into a customer's product and used exclusively for a specific period of time.

Hogan said IoT requirements are some of the biggest challenges for chip designers because customers want products that are always on, use little power, support multiple standards, work in complex environments and come in varied form factors. 

"There is an insatiable need for embedded sensing, AI, and security to create an intelligent edge," he said.

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By Veronica Combs

Veronica Combs is a senior writer at TechRepublic. For more than 10 years, she has covered technology, healthcare, and business strategy. In addition to her writing and editing expertise, she has managed small and large teams at startups and establis...