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Five "core" partners join IMEC 45nm project

Posted: 15 Oct 2003 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Interuniversity Microectronics Center? IMEC? wafer? semiconductor manufacturing? foundry?

Intel Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co. are among the five "core" partners of a research effort aimed at developing 45nm-and-beyond process technologies.

The decisions announced last October 13, bring in the financial resources of the two largest semiconductor producers to support the ongoing construction of a 300mm wafer facility here at the Interuniversity Microectronics Center (IMEC).

The participation of the two non-European companies is part of a trend to make the major cooperative research centers fully international, moving away from their original regional orientations: IMEC in Europe, and International Sematech in the U.S.

And the additional funding from Intel and Samsung maintains the momentum needed to transition IMEC's facilities here to a new 300mm facility, now under construction, that will cost roughly $500 million to build and fully equip.

Intel and Samsung join the three major European chip producers, Infineon Technologies, Philips, and STMicroelectronics, in becoming core partners in the 45nm-and-beyond development project, IMEC officials said. The core partners will participate in all seven of the research programs that are part of the 45nm-and-beyond platform, and will receive certain advantages over companies that remain outside of the "core" partners status.

Moreover, Texas Instruments Inc. will participate in five of the seven programs and may become a core partner later, said Gilbert Declerck, IMEC's CEO.

IMEC expects eight to 10 companies to ante up for core partner status eventually, with dozens of other device and equipment manufacturers joining on a per-program basis for as much as $2 million per year, per program.

The seven programs include an effort to develop germanium-based CMOS devices, an area where IMEC is cooperating with another germanium research consortia centered at Stanford University's nanotechnology center.

The IMEC 45nm platform includes programs on advanced lithography, cleaning, and contamination control, source-drain engineering, high-k dielectrics and metal gates, alternative CMOS devices such as multi-gate FETs and silicon-on-insulator, and advanced interconnects.

IMEC will spend about 84 million Euros, or roughly $100 million at today's exchange rate, to build the 300mm facility, and several hundred million more to equip the building, Declerck said. The goal is to produce functional research-level 45nm devices by the second half of 2005.

Asked if any of China's emerging semiconductor manufacturers would join the 45nm platform development effort, Declerck quickly said "no, we could not allow them, though they would be very interested to join and have asked us."

The U.S. government and European Union have developed limits to technologies which can be exported to the People's Republic of China, preventing participation by the Chinese at the current time, he said.

- David Lammers

EE Times

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