Hsinchu, Taiwan–United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC), a leader in the semiconductor foundry industry, and Dai Nippon Printing Co., Ltd. (DNP), a leader in photomask manufacturing, have announced the finalization of a multi-year agreement for UMC to secure advanced mask services from DNP. The agreement also includes a joint specification optimization effort for masks at the 0.10-micron generation, generally considered to be the next major milestone in semiconductor process technologies.
Under the terms of the agreement, the leading photomask manufacturer will meet UMC’s high-end mask demands, concentrating on the 0.15-micron and 0.13-micron process generations with emphasis on advanced, high-quality optical proximity correction (OPC) phased shift masks (PSM). The 0.10-micron co-development will consist of engineering teams from both companies to research the technology and mask specifications for this high-end process, which will eventually include a wide range of applications for UMC customers.
“This joint engineering effort gives UMC a major head start in preparing for our transition to 0.10-micron,” says Dr. Fu Tai Liou, UMC’s senior vice president and chief technology officer. “By working with an industry leading mask provider such as DNP, our customers can be assured that their mask requirements will be met when this advanced process generation is ready.”
“The finalization of this long-term supply agreement will prove mutually beneficial from a cooperative as well as a business standpoint,” says Yoshiyuki Nakagawa, director of DNP Semiconductor Division. “Moreover, regarding production, our objective is to optimize 0.10-micron mask specification through a direct dialogue between users and suppliers, enabling a cost-effective and practical supply of photomasks. This will no doubt bring substantial results to both companies.”