DALSA to play major role in Quebec Microelectronics Innovation Center

by Debra Vogler, senior technical editor

A new Microelectronics Innovation Center is being formed at the Université de Sherbrooke in Bromont, Québec, to focus on 200mm-based microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and 3D wafer-level packaging (WLP), and "advanced technologies associated with the assembly and packaging of silicon chips." Initial investments come from the governments of Québec ($94.95M) and Canada ($82.95M), and another $40.6M from center cofounders DALSA Semiconductor, IBM Canada, and the U. of Sherbrooke along with unidentified semiconductor equipment suppliers. Participatory interest is said to have been expressed by other universities, research centers, and industrial partners both in Canada and globally.

The prime purpose of the innovation center is to leverage the best from the Canadian and international research community to address industry’s most challenging problems, with the end goals of technology transfer as well as development of spinoffs. It also will be the centerpiece of a planned "true microelectronics cluster in Québec," hoped to extend from activities centered around Albany, NY. An estimated 250 researchers will be involved, and >3000 jobs will be created.

DALSA will assist in the design of the center and take a lead role in the specification, installation, and ongoing operational responsibility for the MEMS- and WLP-related equipment, which the company says will be among the most advanced in the world for 200mm MEMS and 3D WLP processing.

Claude Jean, VP and GM of DALSA Semiconductor, told SST that the center enables pre-competitive research — not in fundamental R&D, "but rather take already existing results and do the last step needed to bring the technology to volume production."

The new center not only benefits from DALSA’s founding participation and support, but the company gains an advantage in participating in the center as well. For example, the company cannot bring gold into its MEMS production foundry because of CCD manufacturing going on in the facility; isolation capabilities being built into its production house will not be complete for about a year. The new research center does have isolation capabilities, so work can be done using gold without delay. — D.V.


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