Intel’s 22FFL Process Improves Power, Cost, and Analog

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New Memory, Analog, and RF Building Blocks

SRAMs typically use low-leakage, high VT transistors, so Intel designed a new set of three SRAM bit-cells for the 22FFL process. A high-density 0.087µm2 cell and a high-current 0.107µm2 cell use the regular low-power transistors. The former use single-fin devices while the latter uses some multi-fin devices and offers about twice the read current. The thick-oxide LL transistors are used in an extremely low-leakage cell that has a median leakage under 1pA, which is 28X less than the regular high-current cell, but has about a fifth the read current of the HCC cell.

Intel 22FFL SRAMs

Figure 3. Yield and VMIN for SRAM arrays using three different 22FFL bit-cells. The HCC and HDC yields are based on a sample of 9,000 die.

As Figure 3 illustrates, the new bit-cells enable <0.5V VMIN operation for modest-sized arrays. The HCC data is for a 32Mbit array, while the HDC and HCC-LL data are from smaller 16Mbit arrays. The HDC cells are used in conjunction with write-assist circuitry. The low-leakage array operates with a 95th percentile VMIN of 0.71V.

In addition to the logic transistors, 22FFL also includes 3 analog and 3 I/O devices. The long-channel analog transistors are larger than the digital devices – with 144nm, 216nm, and 270nm contacted gate pitches, corresponding to 74nm, 120nm, and 160nm gate lengths. The new analog transistors increase GM*ROUT (an analog figure-of-merit) by 3.3-4X compared to the 22nm SoC process. Using these analog transistors, Intel’s design teams built a 3.2GHz PLL that operates at 0.85V and draws 0.77mW. Intel’s team also presented several RF metrics for the 22FFL process. The unity current gain (FT) frequency was reported as 230GHz/238GHz and the unity power gain (FMAX) as 284GHz/242GHz for NMOS/PMOS respectively. As Figure 4 shows, the team is still optimizing and expects to exceed 300GHz for FT.

Intel 22FFL RF Performance

Figure 4. FT (including parasitics through M2) is expected to exceed 300GHz with additional tuning.

Like the analog transistors, I/O transistors are also larger footprint, with 216nm and 270nm contacted gate pitches. However, they use a thick gate oxide to support stable 1.2V, 1.5V, and 1.8V operation for off-chip interfaces. Compared to the 22nm SoC process, the I/O transistors are 33%/35% higher current for NMOS and PMOS. Although no 3.3V devices were described, the 22FFL I/O transistors are fairly close in performance to the I/O devices in the 14nm SoC process.

For passives, the 22FFL process includes 3 different inductors formed in the thick metal layers that are 150µm, 175µm, and 225µm wide. All the inductors can hit quality factors of 28-31 and they respectively offer about 0.17nH, 0.22-0.26nH, and 0.33-0.45nH. Metal-insulator-metal capacitors are also supported in the thick upper metal layers, along with capacitors in lower layers.

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