STMicroelectronics opens technology center dedicated to nonvolatile memory technologies

February 27, 2001–Milan, Italy–The Prime Minister of Italy, Mr Giuliano Amato, today formally inaugurated STMicroelectronics’ R2 Technology Center, the latest addition to its global network of advanced microelectronics R&D centers and wafer fabrication plants.

Located at the company’s site in Agrate Brianza on the outskirts of Milan, the R2 center is dedicated to the development and advanced manufacturing of products based on deep submicron flash and other nonvolatile memory technologies and smartcards, areas where ST has a long tradition of achievement and is among the world leaders. In addition to an 8-in. (200mm) wafer fab for volume production, it also includes state-of-the-art R&D and advanced product design facilities.

Based on the extension and upgrading of the former R1 6-in. (150mm) wafer fab, R2 has cost some US$600 million to date and the total investment is expected to reach US$1 billion by 2002.

The formal opening followed an aggressive ramp-up of the facility, which already is producing 2,500 wafers/week. The current production comprises mostly flash memories (4 to 64Mb) built with 0.18-micron technology, including 16 and 32Mb devices for cellular phone applications, and 16-bit microcontrollers containing 2Mb of embedded flash memory for use in automotive engine management applications. The immediate development activity is focused on leading-edge 0.13-micron geometries.

The nonvolatile memory products that are being developed at R2 are of high strategic importance as they are key components of fast-growing applications such as mobile phones, automotive systems, and Set-Top Boxes and other advanced digital consumer products.

“The official opening of our latest 8-in. fab and R&D center underlines our commitment to meeting our customers’ ever-increasing need for state-of-the-art nonvolatile memories, especially flash memories. We now have two 8-in. fabs dedicated to volume production of flash, which is also partly manufactured in our new leading edge 8-in. fab in Rousset, France. ST’s aggressive technology roadmap is on target to match the capability of the more narrowly focused market leaders,” says Pasquale Pistorio, ST’s president and CEO.

R2 is ST’s most advanced center for the development and early production of new generation flash and other nonvolatile memories, both stand-alone and embedded. Using state-of-the-art Step & Scan Deep Ultra Violet (DUV) equipment and working close to the limit of optical lithography, it has been designed to handle 5,000 wafers/week using 0.1-micron technology. The facility includes a 5,600-sq.-m Class 0 cleanroom, which is a specification of air purity ten times more aggressive than the traditional Class 1 cleanroom.

In keeping with ST’s commitment to achieving environmental neutrality, the R2 Technology Center is designed to minimize energy consumption and environmental contamination. Exhaust products are segregated to allow more effective treatment and state-of-the-art technologies are used for the disposal of toxic waste. The centralized exhaust gas abatement plan achieves treatment efficiencies up to 99%, leading to emission rates better than ST’s corporate limits and a gas abatement performance 20 times better than the legal requirement.

R2 is one of ST’s five operational 8-in. fabs and significantly expands ST’s flash and nonvolatile production capacity, currently centered on the M5 8-in. fab in Catania, Italy and, to a large extent, also on Rousset 8″ in France. The other 8-in. fabs located in Crolles (near Grenoble, France) and Phoenix, Arizona, specialize in complex logic products and system-on-chip. In addition, work is progressing on a new 8-in. fab in Singapore, and construction of the building for a second 8-in. fab in Catania, Italy, (known as M6) has just begun.


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