x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Masdar Institute, GlobalFoundries in semiconductor milestone

Abu Dhabi is keen to establish itself as a centre for the semiconductor industry in a bid to diversify its economy away from oil.

Abu Dhabi’s Masdar Institute of Science and Technology has become the latest university to provide a new semiconductor design for manufacturing in the GlobalFoundries’ fabrication plant in Dresden, a process known as “tape-out”.

Working in collaboration with GlobalFoundries, fully owned by Mubadala’s Advanced Technology Investment Company (Atic), Masdar Insitute will start shipping out the design for the 28-nanometre (nm) chip by the end of March.

“The successful tape-out [by] our students has enabled the UAE to enter a new era in advanced semiconductor technology research and innovation,” said Fred Moavenzadeh, the president of the Masdar Institute.

Abu Dhabi is keen to establish itself as a centre for the semiconductor industry in a bid to diversify its economy away from oil.

“The development clearly means that the Masdar Institute is now on par with those global organisations that design and tape-out chips in the advanced process nodes,” said Ghanesh Ramamoorthy, an analyst at Gartner. “This is definitely a milestone. This development is also a very positive one for the growth of the semiconductor design ecosystem in the region and puts the country in a leading position in the region in semiconductor design and technology research.”

The 28nm chips are considered to be very advanced and typically end up in smartphones and tablets. The main goal of the chip is to collect measurements that will help to reduce power consumption and increase speed. The data will be fed back to the engineers to help to optimise the circuit design of the silicon chips.

“Such guidelines will be very valuable in the manufacturing of the ultra-lower power chips that can be used in a variety of applications, including mobile and implementable medical devices, continuous environmental monitoring and consumer electronics,” said Ibrahim Elfadel, the head of Masdar Institute’s Centre for Microelectronics.

thamid@thenational.ae