STMicroelectronics breaks 20 nm barrier for next-gen microcontrollers

STMicroelectronics Pty Ltd

Thursday, 21 March, 2024

STMicroelectronics breaks 20 nm barrier for next-gen microcontrollers

STMicroelectronics has announced an advanced process based on 18 nm Fully Depleted Silicon on Insulator (FD-SOI) technology with embedded phase change memory (ePCM) to support next-generation embedded processing devices. This new process technology, co-developed by STMicroelectronics and Samsung Foundry, is designed to deliver enhanced performance and power consumption for embedded processing applications while allowing larger memory sizes and higher levels of integration of analog and digital peripherals.

Compared to the ST 40 nm embedded non-volatile memory (eNVM) technology used at present, the 18 nm FD-SOI with ePCM is designed to provide an enhanced performance-to-power ratio. It also features 2.5-times higher non-volatile memory (NVM) density to enable larger on-chip memories. The device also facilitates a 3 dB improvement in noise figure for enhanced RF performance in wireless MCUs.

The technology is also capable of 3 V operation to supply analog features such as power management, reset systems, clock sources and digital/analog converters. The technology is suitable for demanding industrial applications due to its high-temperature operation, radiation hardening and data retention capabilities.

Microcontrollers based on this technology will feature a large memory size, thereby supporting the growing needs of edge AI processing, multi-protocol RF stacks, over-the-air updates and advanced security features. The high performance and large memory size capabilities will give developers using microprocessors the option to use more highly integrated microcontrollers for their designs. It will also allow further steps to be taken in power efficiency for ultralow power devices.

The first microcontroller based on this technology will integrate an advanced ARM Cortex-M core, to facilitate enhanced performance for machine learning and digital signal processing applications. It will also offer fast and flexible memory interfaces, advanced graphic capabilities and will integrate numerous analog and digital peripherals. It will also include the certified security features already introduced in ST’s MCUs.

The first STM32 microcontroller based on the new technology will start sampling to selected customers in the latter half of 2024, with production planned for the second half of 2025.

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