January 29, 2008 — LEUVEN, BELGIUM, AND HSINCHU, TAIWAN — Powerchip Semiconductor Corporation (PSC), a leading Taiwan-based memory semiconductor supplier offering dynamic random access memory chips (DRAMs) and flash memory chips, has entered into a partnership with IMEC, Europe’s leading independent nanoelectronics research center, to perform research and development for the sub-32 nm memory process generations.
As part of the agreement, PSC will collaborate within IMEC’s advanced lithography program addressing immersion, double patterning, and EUV lithography challenges. From March 2008 onwards, PSC researchers will reside at IMEC to closely collaborate with IMEC’s researchers in the abovementioned areas. In this way, they will build up fundamental understanding and develop robust solutions for the 32-nm and beyond memory process generations.
With this agreement, IMEC further enforces the unique strength of its consortium and program towards leading memory technologies. Before that, IMEC had already grouped the top five leading memory suppliers including Micron, Qimonda, Samsung, Elpida, and Hynix, to collaborate within IMEC’s global research platform striving to scale CMOS beyond the 32-nm node. The platform also unites world leading logic IDMs and foundries, including Intel, Panasonic, TSMC, Infineon, NXP, STMicroelectronics, and Texas Instruments. This “leading mix” of semiconductor market segments is proving to be a unique cross-fertilization platform strengthening state-of-the-art process R&D beyond 32-nm node and answering the needs of the whole semiconductor market.
Powerchip Semiconductor chairman Dr. Frank Huang expressed that, as photolithography technology approaches 32-nm, the industry has encountered physical limitations while at the same time development costs are increasing. Therefore, the trend of alliances and joint development will become more and more eminent in the industry. Semiconductor giants including Intel and TSMC as well as memory suppliers Samsung and Micron have already established long-term development collaboration with IMEC. As PSC continues to grow and technology continues to advance, in order to avoid being left behind on the development of next-generation advanced process technology, PSC has decided to sign an agreement with IMEC to participate in its global research network, in order to accelerate the advancement of process technology and to take a step further in increasing PSC’s high-efficiency production.
“We are excited that PSC has joined our research platform. Their growth in the memory business is impressive, and their know-how in memory scaling will be an important asset for our global research platform,” said Gilbert Declerck, president and CEO of IMEC. “PSC’s joining demonstrates our ambition to further expand our program with new leading partners, on the path to technologies below 32-nm. It emphasizes the increasing strength of our memory partner network, which is unique in the world. It also illustrates our commitment to further enforce our business in Taiwan, at the time when we’re opening IMEC Taiwan in the Hsinchu Science Park.”
Powerchip Semiconductor was founded in December of 1994 in Hsinchu Science Park, Taiwan in order to focus on the production and marketing of DRAM chips. In 1998, Powerchip Semiconductor listed itself publicly on OTC market. Currently Powerchip Semiconductor has three 12-inch (300-mm) fabs, over 6,000 employees, and Capital of over 78.2 billion NTD.
PSC was established upon, and further developed its long term strategic relationships with, Japanese High-Tech firms. In 2006, PSC and Elpida jointly established Rexchip.
IMEC is a world-leading independent research center in nanoelectronics and nanotechnology. Its research focuses on the next generations of chips and systems, and on the enabling technologies for ambient intelligence. IMEC’s research bridges the gap between fundamental research at universities and technology development in industry. Its unique balance of processing and system know-how, intellectual property portfolio, state-of-the-art infrastructure, and its strong network of companies, universities, and research institutes worldwide position IMEC as a key partner for shaping technologies for future systems.
IMEC vzw is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, has a sister company in the Netherlands (IMEC-NL) concentrating on wireless autonomous transducer solutions, and has representatives in the US, China, and Japan. Its staff of more than 1,600 people includes more than 500 industrial residents and guest researchers. In 2007, its revenue (P&L) is estimated at about EUR 235 million.