GlobalFoundries, a full-service semiconductor foundry with fabrication plants around the world, announced that its Fab 1 in Dresden, Germany has shipped a quarter of a million semiconductor wafers based on 32nm High-K Metal Gate (HKMG) technology.

GlobalFoundries Fab 1 in Dresden, Germany
GlobalFoundries Fab 1 in Dresden, Germany. The complex is consisted out of three cleanrooms, formerly known as Fab 30, Fab 36 and Fab 38.

Despite integrating several new and complex elements in both the design and process technologies, the company?s 32nm shipments have exceeded those of the 45nm technology ramp for similar periods.

Earlier this month, GlobalFoundries acquired AMD?s remaining stake in the company and is now wholly owned by the Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC), which in turn is now wholly owned by Mubadala Abu Dhabi. However, the two, now independent, companies remain closely related, with AMD remaining one of its primary and strategic customers.

AMD president and CEO Rory Read said: "In just one quarter, we were able to see more than a doubling of yields on 32nm, allowing us to exit 2011 having exceeded our 32nm product shipment requirements. Based on this successful ramp of 32nm HKMG, we are committed to moving ahead on 28nm with GlobalFoundries."

GlobalFoundries CEO Ajit Manocha emphasized: "We made several organizational and operational changes in the second half of the year that led to a dramatic increase in production velocity and major breakthroughs in yield learning. And since our 28nm technology uses the same HKMG implementation as 32nm, AMD and other customers will benefit greatly from our high-volume ramp of leading-edge APUs at 32nm."

It's been a long road for 32nm HKMG to mature - this picture of 32nm HKMG wafer was taken in March 2010
It’s been a long road for 32nm HKMG to mature – this picture of 32nm HKMG wafer was taken in March 2010

An additional wafer manufacturing facility was recently completed at Fab 1, adding more than 110,000 square feet of cleanroom space to the site. Fab 1 is now the largest wafer fab in Europe for leading-edge technology. In January, GlobalFoundries announced they had committed over $3 billion in capital spending in 2012 to expand their Singapore, Germany, and New York facilities. The additional wafer manufacturing facility in Germany is designed to add capacity at 45nm and below.

In the United States, their Fab 8 300mm manufacturing facility is to jointly manufacture advanced computer chips in New York at IBM?s fab in East Fishkill and GlobalFoundries Fab 8 in Saratoga County. The chips are based on IBM’s 32nm, Silicon-on-Insulator (SOI) technology, which they jointly developed along with other members of IBM’s Process Development Alliance. Early research was conducted at the University at Albany’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering.