IBM, CMP to Help Companies and Universities Create SiGe Chip Designs

3/12/2003 - IBM and CMP (Circuits Multi Projets) announced an initiative to assist emerging companies and universities in Europe to develop innovative silicon germanium (SiGe) communications chip designs.

Under the agreement, IBM intends to provide wafer manufacturing services to CMP for its SiGe BiCMOS 0.18, 0.25Ám and 0.5Ám processes. CMP, based in Grenoble, France will, in turn, offer a single interface for companies and universities who want to share overhead costs associated with the development and production of microchips, enabling them to fabricate prototype or low volume integrated circuits they have designed.

This relationship builds upon the successful Multi-Project Wafer (MPW) initiative that IBM established in March 2001 with MOSIS, a US-based low-cost prototyping and small-volume production service for VLSI circuit development. Since 1981, CMP has supported about 3800 projects for Research, Education and Industry for more than 500 parties from 60 countries in this way, using over 40 different technologies.

"We created the SiGe MPW initiative to extend the reach of our advanced semiconductor technology to a community of talented chip designers who normally might not have an opportunity to work with IBM," says Steve Wainwright, vice-president, IBM Technology Group, Europe, Middle East, Africa. "This has proved successful and we see our agreement with CMP as opening the door to such talents in Europe, which has a strong design base, particularly in wireless applications where SiGe is a leading technology."

IBM's SiGe heterojunction bipolar transistor (HBT) technology, which is based upon a standard CMOS process, has emerged to offer the cost-effective and highly integrated capabilities required by companies for low-power, high-performance communications applications. The semiconductors will be manufactured at IBM's high-volume manufacturing facility in Burlington, Vermont.

"CMP has long experience providing smaller organisations with access to advanced manufacturing technologies," says Dr. Kholdoun Torki, Engineering manager for CMP. "IBM's initiative provides new and exciting opportunities for such operations in the communications segment where Europe is well-positioned."

Currently, many of the smaller, innovative companies, universities and research centers cannot move their designs from "lab to fab" because their limited quantity makes it economically impractical to manufacture them. Multi-project wafer initiatives give them such an opportunity.

Under the SiGe MPW initiative, customers share development and manufacturing expenses by submitting separate chip designs-typically early prototypes-for consolidation and manufacture together on a single wafer. CMP will contract directly with customers to integrate multiple chip designs onto a single mask set and arrange for prototype production of the chips at IBM's facility in Burlington.

About IBM Microelectronics
IBM Microelectronics is a key contributor to IBM's role as the world's premier information technology supplier. IBM Microelectronics develops, manufactures and markets state-of-the-art semiconductor and interconnect technologies, products and services. Its superior integrated solutions can be found in many of the world's best-known electronic brands. More information about IBM Microelectronics can be found at:

About CMP
CMP, established in 1981, is based in Grenoble, France. It provides prototyping and low-volume production services to universities, research institutes and enterprises. For more information:

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