TSMC Becomes Core Partner in IMEC's Sub-45nm Research Program

10/19/2005 - IMEC announces that Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSE: 2330, NYSE: TSM), the world's largest dedicated semiconductor foundry, agreed to become a core partner in IMEC's sub-45nm CMOS research program. With TSMC joining IMEC's core program, eight of the world's leading IC manufacturers - Infineon, Intel, Matsushita/Panasonic, Philips, Samsung, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments and TSMC - collaborate in IMEC's state-of-the-art 300mm research facilities to conquer the ITRS challenges.

"We are excited that TSMC has joined our core program. We are looking forward to an extensive, long-term partnership with TSMC on sub-45nm technologies," said Prof. Gilbert Declerck, President and CEO IMEC. "The collaboration with the world's largest semiconductor foundry in IMEC, further paves the way for the IMEC partners to deliver cutting-edge research results of direct relevance for next-generations IC manufacturing."

"TSMC firmly believes in the value of collaboration with other leaders in the IC industry," said Dr. Shang-Yi Chiang, senior vice president of research and development for TSMC. "The industry's advance towards more challenging technologies requires a comprehensive approach and research organizations such as IMEC provide an ideal environment conducting the necessary basic research." "We look forward to bringing further contributions to this joint effort from a foundry perspective and believe that our customers will benefit from this collaboration in the near future," Dr. Chiang continued.

With TSMC's membership, IMEC has gathered the full scope of companies involved in the processing chain including the leading Integrated Device Manufacturers (IDMs) in the logic as well as the memory arena, the largest foundry and the largest equipment suppliers. This guarantees an optimal platform for collaborative research and fine-tuned results.

Since the launch of the 300mm research platform, significant progress has been made. The front-end-of-line is up and running since July of this year. The installation of the back-end-of-line has gained momentum thanks to strategic agreements with leading equipment manufacturers. Research focus has shifted from the 45nm node to the 32nm node and beyond with programs on advanced lithography, front-end-of-line, advanced interconnect solutions, cleaning and contamination control and exploratory research on emerging devices.

The advanced lithography program currently focuses on 193nm immersion lithography, at present on an ASML XT 1250i scanner, and soon, as of mid 2006, on an ASML XT1700i scanner with hyper-NA of 1.2. Meanwhile, IMEC is also starting up an EUV program based on a strategic agreement with ASML to install an early full-field alpha demo tool.

IMEC's front-end-of-line research program package consists of three strongly interrelated entities:

  1. Planar CMOS device integration research, combining high-mobility layers, ultra-shallow junctions and high-k gate-stack integration
  2. Research on advanced high-k and metal-gate-stack materials and processes
  3. Non-planar CMOS device research with focus on FINFETs

The advanced interconnect program will further explore the limits of Cu/low-k scaling. In addition, it now contains a more speculative sub-program on the potential of 3D stacked ICs.

With the shift towards 32nm and beyond, more emphasis will also go towards emerging device concepts. Two major roads are being investigated: Germanium and III/V devices as mid-term high-performance candidates on the one hand and, targeting the post-CMOS era, carbon nanotubes and semiconducting nanowires on the other hand.

About IMEC
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.

As an expansion of its wireless research, IMEC has created a legal entity in the Netherlands. Stichting IMEC Nederland runs activities at the Holst Centre, an independent R&D institute that develops generic technologies and technology platforms for autonomous wireless transducer solutions and systems-in-foil.

IMEC is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium. Its staff of about 1400 people includes close to 500 industrial residents and guest researchers. In 2005, its revenues are estimated to be close to EUR 200 million.

About TSMC
TSMC is the world's largest dedicated semiconductor foundry, providing the industry's leading process technology and the foundry industry's largest portfolio of process-proven library, IP, design tools and reference flows. The company operates two advanced twelve-inch wafer fabs, five eight-inch fabs and one six-inch wafer fab. TSMC also has substantial capacity commitments at its wholly-owned subsidiaries, WaferTech and TSMC (Shanghai), and its joint venture fab, SSMC. TSMC's corporate headquarters are in Hsinchu, Taiwan.

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