UMC Launches 22nm eHV Tech, Raising the Bar for Mobile Display Power and Speed

by | Jun 21, 2024

In a landmark shift poised to redefine mobile display technology, United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC), a global leader in semiconductor foundry services, has launched its pioneering 22nm embedded high voltage (eHV) technology platform. This advanced display driver IC (DDIC) solution promises to revolutionize the functionality of premium displays in smartphones and other mobile devices by delivering exceptional power efficiency and smaller die sizes, all while enhancing overall performance metrics.

UMC’s 22nm eHV technology marks a significant advancement in the semiconductor arena. By slashing core device power consumption by up to 30% compared to its predecessor, the 28nm eHV process, UMC addresses the increasing need for energy-efficient solutions in mobile technology. “We are proud to be the first in the industry to introduce a 22nm eHV solution, empowering our customers to develop compact, power-efficient display drivers for next-generation smartphones,” stated Steven Hsu, UMC’s Vice President of Technology Development. This technological leap forward underscores UMC’s commitment to innovation and energy efficiency, setting a new benchmark in the industry.

The platform’s innovation extends beyond mere power efficiency. It boasts the industry’s smallest SRAM bit cells, reducing die area by 10%. This advancement is particularly significant for mobile device manufacturers who aim to improve battery life while delivering superior visual experiences. The 22nm eHV platform’s enhanced image processing speed meets the high-resolution demands of modern smartphones, ensuring faster response times and a smoother user experience. These improvements are anticipated to significantly impact user satisfaction, presenting clearer and more responsive displays.

UMC’s journey to this technological milestone is marked by a series of achievements that highlight its leadership in the AMOLED DDIC market. Since initiating 28nm eHV production in 2020, UMC has dominated over 90% of the small-panel DDIC market. These small-panel DDICs are critical for a wide array of devices, including smartphones, tablets, IoT gadgets, and virtual/augmented reality applications. “We have been the undisputed foundry leader in this sector, and with the launch of 22eHV, we once again demonstrate our world-class eHV capabilities and commitment to enabling our customers’ product roadmaps,” Hsu added. This dominance showcases UMC’s capability and reliability in delivering cutting-edge solutions.

Looking ahead, UMC envisions an even more promising future with plans to expand its eHV portfolio to include FinFET technology. This forward-thinking strategy aims to anticipate and shape future display trends, ensuring UMC stays at the forefront of technological innovation. FinFET technology, renowned for its superior performance and lower power consumption, could revolutionize the next generation of mobile displays and other electronic devices, unlocking new horizons in performance enhancements and applications. This proactive approach is crucial in an industry characterized by rapid innovation and fierce competition.

UMC’s global reach and capabilities further solidify its position as a leader in the semiconductor industry. Operating 12 fabs with a combined capacity of over 400,000 wafers per month, primarily located in Taiwan, UMC’s R&D efforts are also centralized there, ensuring cutting-edge advancements. With a workforce of 20,000 employees and local offices in the United States, Europe, China, Japan, Korea, and Singapore, UMC’s global presence is significant. Additionally, the company’s commitment to quality and reliability is underscored by its IATF 16949 automotive quality standard certification for all its fabs. This robust infrastructure ensures that UMC can meet the growing demand for advanced semiconductor solutions.

The introduction of UMC’s 22nm eHV technology platform is not merely a technological advancement; it is a strategic move to reinforce its position as a leader in the semiconductor industry. The significant reduction in power consumption and die size directly addresses two critical pain points for mobile device manufacturers: battery life and device performance. UMC’s dominance in the 28nm small-panel DDIC market highlights its capability and reliability in delivering state-of-the-art solutions. By focusing on AMOLED displays, which are increasingly prevalent in high-end smartphones, UMC aligns itself with market demand and future trends.

UMC’s commitment to expanding its eHV portfolio to include FinFET technology signals its readiness to adapt to and shape future technological landscapes. As UMC continues to refine its eHV technology, further reductions in power consumption and die size can be anticipated, leading to even more efficient and compact devices. The planned expansion into FinFET technology also opens up new possibilities for performance enhancements and applications beyond traditional display drivers. FinFET’s superior performance and lower power consumption could result in groundbreaking advancements in mobile displays and other electronic devices, ensuring that UMC remains at the cutting edge of technological innovation.

UMC’s strong global presence and capacity ensure that it can meet the growing demand for advanced semiconductor solutions. With continuous investment in R&D and a steadfast commitment to quality, UMC is well-positioned to lead the industry into the future. As the market for high-resolution, power-efficient displays continues to expand, UMC’s innovations are likely to play a pivotal role in shaping the next wave of mobile technology. Whether through further advancements in eHV technology or the introduction of new semiconductor solutions, UMC’s trajectory points towards sustained leadership and influence in the semiconductor industry.