GlobalFoundries Partners With Google's Open-Source Silicon Effort To Provide 180nm Tech

Written by Michael Larabel in Google on 3 August 2022 at 02:30 PM EDT. 22 Comments
Over the past two years Google has been spearheading an effort to make silicon design more open-source and allowing more projects to get started in chip fabrication. That got started with a partnership with SkyWater Technology and Google covering the costs for open-source projects to see their initial chips fabricated on a 130nm process. Google's Open-Source Silicon Design Initiative recently announced SkyWater 90nm manufacturing will get underway for future manufacturing runs. Today the news out of Google's open-source group is that GlobalFoundries has joined this initiative and is providing 180nm manufacturing access.

Google and GlobalFoundries today announced the release of an open-source Process Design Kit (PDK) for GloFo's 180nm 180MCU technology platform. This PDF is available under an Apache 2.0 license and thanks to Google will have a similar no-cost silicon realization program to manufacture open-source designs, similar to the SkyWater shuttles. Over the past two years Google's program has brought about six shuttle runs allowing more than 350 unique silicon designs and around 240 of those were manufactured at no-cost thanks to Google. Now with SkyWater 90nm and GlobalFoundries 180nm access, this silicon access is expanding much further.

GlobalFoundries 180nm manufacturing is hardly exciting from a technology perspective with today's 7nm and lower for top-end processors, but still the 180nm process is viable for IoT, automotive, and other use-cases with MCUs, PMICs, etc. GlobalFoundries expects their 180nm operations to grow to 22+ million wafers in 2026, up from 16+ million wafers a year currently.

More details on this effort can be found via the Google Open-Source Blog. The new GlobalFoundries 180nm open-source PDK can be found on GitHub.
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