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Indian space agency enters chip making

Posted: 19 Jan 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:K.C. Krishnadas? Semiconductor Complex? SCL? 0.35um?

Federally-owned Semiconductor Complex Ltd (SCL) expects to manufacture 0.35?m chips over the next 18 months.

The move follows SCL's transfer as an autonomous group from the Department of Electronics to the Department of Space.

Struggling for some time financially, SCL will now be rejuvenated by the DoS and the Indian Space research Organization (ISRO) to focus on researching the latest technologies and making chips for its own needs, according to a report in The Hindu Business Line last week (Jan. 14).

Set up in 1983, SCL has a 6-inch wafer fab able to process wafers in 0.8?m, upgradable to 0.6?m and with a capacity to process 100,000 wafers annually. Clearly, its technology capabilities lag behind current global standards.

Employing about 600, SCL has been known more for being a fertile ground for overseas recruitment. It has also gotten into smart cards and ASIC design projects. SCL's attempts to form a joint venture with global electronics companies a few years ago also went nowhere.

Officials did not disclose the investment needed to move to 0.35-micron manufacturing, but said a team has started devising a turnaround plan to prospect non-space related businesses.

The ISRO has designed chips for satellite launchers which it had fabricated at overseas foundries.

- K.C. Krishnadas
EE Times

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