July 13, 2005 – ASM International N.V. and IMEC have announced that they have agreed to enter into a three year strategic partnership in the area of back-end-of-line (BEOL) interconnect technology, commencing in 2006.
In this strategic partnership, IMEC and ASM will develop novel copper/low-k technologies for use in interconnect on chips in the nanotechnology era, having features sized 45nm or less and on 300mm wafers. Earlier, ASM and IMEC announced a strategic partnership in front-end-of-line (FEOL) transistor technology (October 11, 2004).
To help facilitate the technology development, ASM will deliver its most advanced 300mm BEOL semiconductor wafer processing equipment and services to IMEC, including Eaglesystems for low-k insulator deposition, and an electro-chemical mechanical deposition and polishing (ECMD and ECMP) LuminaCu(TM) system for planar copper plating. The equipment is expected to be delivered in 4Q05 and 1Q06.
The strategic partnership agreement includes ASM’s participation for three years in IMEC’s sub-45 nm copper/low-k development programs.
ASM has had a presence on the IMEC premises since 1994, when it moved its European demonstration and process research laboratories to Leuven. ASM Belgium was incorporated as a research center in 2000. ASM Belgium, IMEC researchers, and IMEC’s partner researchers will jointly realize the required processing capability for the sub-45 nm devices.
ASM’s work with IMEC is part of IMEC’s nanoelectronics research platform, which brings together leading chipmakers worldwide to tackle the challenges for the sub-45nm node.