10/13/2004 - IMEC, Europe's leading independent nanoelectronics and nanotechnology research center, has signed strategic partnership agreements with ten of the world's leading equipment suppliers - AIXTRON AG, Applied Materials, Inc., ASM International, ASM-Lithography, Dainippon Screen Mfg. Co., Ltd. (DNS), FEI Company, KLA-Tencor, Lam Research Corporation, Tokyo Electron Limited (TEL) and SEZ. The agreements allow IMEC to structure its sub-45nm research around the most advanced equipment available, while tool suppliers can acquire early know-how on future technology generations and closely collaborate with leading semiconductor manufacturers.
IC process research targeting technology generations two to three nodes ahead of state-of-the-art IC production requires close collaboration between research centers, semiconductor manufacturers, material suppliers and equipment manufacturers. At the inauguration of IMEC's nanoelectronics research facility last May, IMEC announced that seven of the world's leading semiconductor manufacturers - Infineon Technologies, Intel, Matsushita, Philips, Samsung Electronics, STMicroelectronics and Texas Instruments - had joined IMEC's sub-45nm research programs as core partners. Now agreements are in place with ten leading equipment suppliers to provide the world's most advanced equipment and closely collaborate in IMEC's sub-45nm research programs.
The agreements allow IMEC to build its sub-45nm CMOS research programs around a mixture of early research tools (ß tools) and tools providing solid baseline processes. IMEC's sub-45nm research currently includes seven programs:
IMEC's alliances with several of the equipment suppliers result from successful collaborations that started already many years ago with research on 200mm wafers and even before. The new agreements are a first step towards long-term partnerships making it a win-win situation for both IMEC's semiconductor manufacturer partners and tool suppliers. The equipment suppliers expect to station about 80 researchers at IMEC's facilities.
"Scaling IC technology below 45nm poses increasing challenges for the equipment industry and creates the need for tool suppliers to acquire early know-how on future process modules and devices," said Luc Van den hove, Vice President Silicon Process and Device Technology at IMEC. "These joint development agreements allow tool suppliers to closely interact with leading semiconductor manufacturers, enabling them to adopt to the most promising process steps and device concepts in an early stage and build up the critical knowledge to support these processes. Tool suppliers also gain access to IMEC's unique characterization and metrology know-how, which is crucial for advanced process and tool development."
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 a strong network of companies, universities and research institutes worldwide, positions IMEC as a key partner with which to develop and improve technologies for future systems. IMEC is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium and has representatives in the US, China and Japan. Its staff of more than 1300 people includes over 380 industrial residents and guest researchers. In 2003, its revenues were EUR 145 million. Further information on IMEC can be found at www.imec.be.
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