Big chip makers join IMEC research platform

OCT. 13–LEUVEN, Belgium– IMEC, one of Europe’s largest independent micro- and nanoelectronics research centers, today announced that five of the world’s leading semiconductor manufacturers – Infineon, Intel, Philips, Samsung Electronics and STMicroelectronics– have boosted their collaboration with IMEC by joining IMEC’s sub-45nm research platform.

These core partnerships are a major step in the implementation of IMEC’s 300 mm center of excellence.

The ability to develop sub-45nm process technologies that stay abreast of the semiconductor technology roadmap requires massive increases in research
and resources at a huge cost. To offset this burden, IMEC has created a centralized research platform in close collaboration with IC manufacturers and equipment manufacturers. This research platform allows companies to collaborate during the research phase of a project and reduce individual risk and costs, while deriving results more quickly by working together in
a state-of-the-art facility.

IMEC’s collaborative research program targets technology generations two to three nodes ahead of state-of-the-art IC production. The activities are organized as a coherent cluster of programs enabling very advanced research at reduced cost. Based on its long-standing track record and expertise, IMEC’s central focus in these programs is on advanced process module and device research, with several programs being devoted to the exploration of new materials. Programs include:

–Advanced lithography;

–Cleaning and contamination control;

–Substrate modules: implementation of high- mobility layers and advanced source/drain engineering solutions;

–Gate stack: high-k dielectrics and metal gates;

–Alternative CMOS devices (e.g. SOI and multi-gate FETs);

–Germanium-based CMOS devices;

–Advanced interconnect solutions: ultra-low-k materials and wafer-level packaging on Cu damascene.

In line with industry’s transition, the tool set for the execution of these programs will gradually transition from 200 mm to 300 mm wafers in IMEC’s new
research facility, which will be ready for equipment installation in Spring 2004.

Partnerships with several leading equipment manufacturers have been concluded by the signing of LOIs to deliver the latest process tools. The strategic alliance with ASML will enable IMEC to build the 300mm research platform around the world’s most advanced lithography clusters.


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