Imec has a version of its imec.netzero virtual fab tool accessible to the general public. The research institute’s aim is to show the environmental impact of IC manufacturing for a selection of currently available process nodes and how they differ.
The web application uses data from Imec’s own fab, which the institute continually benchmarks using data from equipment, material and fab partners such as Air Liquide, Applied Materials, ASM, ASML, Edwards, Kurita, Lam Research, SCREEN, Tokyo Electron, GlobalFoundries, Samsung Electronics, and TSMC. The virtual fab follows the life-cycle assessment methodology, collecting and analyzes data on the energy, materials, chemicals, gases, and other resources used in each process step of making an IC. Some of this data will not be available in the free version as the public tool does not include Scope 3 contributions. However, it will show the intense energy demand of processes, particularly at the leading edge.
The tool can deliver visual presentations of greenhouse-gas emissions, electrical energy consumption, and total water usage for multiple logic and memory technologies from Imec’s definition of the N28 node to leading-edge processes in mass production. The version at launch goes down to 5nm but Imec expects to add 3nm early in 2024. For critera such as the number and type of metal layers, the public release uses a standard set for each process technology based on typical SoC applications. The model takes into consideration fabrication in different geographical locations.
“Our aim is to offer transparent and high-quality data on the environmental impact of IC manufacturing,“ said Cédric Rolin, program manager at Imec. “Surpassing current available literature, our tool provides value to product designers, environmental researchers, and policymakers seeking industry impact data.”.