In a move that signals a firm and ongoing commitment to future technology leadership, IBM (NYSE: IBM) and its Common Platform(TM) technology partners Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing and Samsung Electronics, along with joint-development alliance partners Infineon Technologies AG and Freescale Semiconductor, have signed a series of semiconductor process development and manufacturing agreements.
The joint development agreements between these companies will now include 32-nanometer (nm) bulk complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) process technologies and joint development of process design kits (PDKs) to support that technology. Building on the success of earlier joint development and manufacturing agreements at 90nm, 65nm and 45nm, alliance partners will be able to produce high-performance, energy-efficient chips at 32nm.
The partners plan to pool their combined expertise and collaborate to design, develop and manufacture advanced technology through 2010. Those technologies, which are the leading platform for a broad range of systems — ranging from next-generation hand-held products to the world’s highest performance supercomputers — may be used by the five partners and other companies to help solve real-life problems in fields such as medicine, communications, transportation and security.
‘Collaborative innovation key to leadership’
“IBM remains convinced that collaborative innovation in an open ecosystem of partners is the key to technology leadership, both now and in the years to come,” said Michael Cadigan, general manager, semiconductor solutions, IBM Global Engineering Solutions. “Today’s announcement validates that strategy by meeting client requirements for leadership technology. With the extensions of our agreements to the 32nm generation — including manufacturing and IBM Research to complement the proven joint development model in place for well over a decade — IBM is working together with its alliance partners to deliver leading-edge technology that promises to dramatically change the way we live, work and play.”
“Infineon continues its successful strategy to develop the most advanced technologies with its alliances and to manufacture them with partners,” said Dr. Franz Neppl, senior vice president, Base Technologies & Services, Infineon Technologies AG. “The jointly developed technologies, together with Infineon’s application and product design know-how, will enable Infineon to provide to our customers cost-effective system-on-silicon solutions and manufacturing capabilities for our core business in communications and automotive/industrial areas.”
“Major new challenges are expected at the 32nm node, both in materials as well as device structures,” said Dr. Oh-Hyun Kwon, president, System LSI Division, Semiconductor Business, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. “We expect to deliver breakthrough technology by working together with our partners, who bring a variety of expertise as leaders in the industry.”
IBM, Chartered and Samsung, as Common Platform technology manufacturers, will be able to use the jointly developed 32nm process technology and design kits to synchronize their manufacturing facilities. This helps facilitate the flexibility to produce nearly identical chips for their respective high-volume OEM clients, who require a multi-sourcing model and expect early access to process technology.
The five companies will work together to deliver industry-leading technology for high-performance and low-standby power products through:
- a focus on low cost and minimum complexity while retaining performance leadership
- implementation of new materials such as high-k/metal gate, advanced stress engineering, and extreme low-k films in the back-end-of-line (BEOL)
- state-of-the-art immersion lithography to achieve competitive density and chip size
- a focus on quality analog models for the digital communications marketplace
- providing a platform for derivative technologies such as RF CMOS and embedded DRAM, or eDRAM
In addition, by using common manufacturing electrical specifications across manufacturing platform partners, technologies can more easily be transferred between partner facilities.
“The industry has recognized the value and importance of the collaborative model in driving robust, cost-effective solutions,” said Chia Song Hwee, president and CEO of Chartered. “As we now collaborate on our fourth node under this joint model, we have seen how each company brings unique strengths and expertise to drive a customer-centric offering. The results of our collaboration have served as a platform for providing customers with world-class, flexible sourcing solutions.”
The 32nm cooperation will include the joint development of an enablement package, similar to previous alliance developments. This package will support the most common design tools that will allow customers to utilize the full potential of this advanced technology for their specific products.
As with previous nodes, 32nm development activities will be conducted at IBM’s state-of-the-art 300 millimeter (mm) semiconductor fabrication facility in East Fishkill, N.Y. Freescale originally announced its membership in the alliance on Jan. 23.
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Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing (NASDAQ: CHRT) (SGX-ST: CHARTERED), one of the world’s top dedicated semiconductor foundries, offers leading-edge technologies down to 65 nanometer (nm), enabling today’s system-on-chip designs. The company further serves its customers’ needs through a collaborative, joint development approach on a technology roadmap that extends to 32nm. Chartered’s strategy is based on open and comprehensive design enablement solutions, manufacturing enhancement strategies, and a commitment to flexible sourcing. In Singapore, the company operates a 300mm fabrication facility and four 200mm facilities.
About Samsung Electronics
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. is a global leader in semiconductor, telecommunication, digital media and digital convergence technologies with 2006 parent company sales of US$63.4 billion and net income of US$8.5 billion. Employing approximately 138,000 people in 124 offices in 56 countries, the company consists of five main business units: Digital Media Business, LCD Business, Semiconductor Business, Telecommunication Network Business, and Digital Appliance Business. Recognized as one of the fastest growing global brands, Samsung Electronics is a leading producer of digital TVs, memory chips, mobile phones and TFT-LCDs.
Infineon Technologies AG, Munich, Germany, offers semiconductor and system solutions addressing three central challenges to modern society — energy efficiency, mobility and security. In fiscal year 2006 (ending September), the company achieved sales of Euro 7.9 billion (including Qimonda sales of Euro 3.8 billion) with approximately 42,000 employees worldwide (including approximately 12,000 Qimonda employees). With a global presence, Infineon operates through its subsidiaries in the US from San Jose, CA, in the Asia-Pacific region from Singapore, and in Japan from Tokyo. Infineon is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and on the New York Stock Exchange (ticker symbol: IFX).
About Freescale Semiconductor
Freescale Semiconductor is a global leader in the design and manufacture of embedded semiconductors for the automotive, consumer, industrial, networking and wireless markets. The privately held company is based in Austin, Texas, and has design, research and development, manufacturing or sales operations in more than 30 countries. Freescale is one of the world’s largest semiconductor companies with 2006 sales of $6.4 billion (USD).
About the Common Platform
IBM, Chartered and Samsung Electronics have broken new ground in the semiconductor industry with a unique collaboration focused on leading-edge, jointly developed digital CMOS process technologies and advanced manufacturing. The Common Platform model is further supported by a comprehensive ecosystem of design enablement and implementation business partners from the EDA, IP and design services industries. This ecosystem allows foundry customers to potentially and competitively source their chip designs to multiple 300mm foundries with unprecedented flexibility and choice. The Common Platform model features 90nm, 65nm, 45nm and 32nm technologies.
The Common Platform concept and initial collaboration began in November 2002, with an agreement between Chartered and IBM to jointly develop advanced technology and provide cross foundry manufacturing capacity to mutual customers. Samsung joined the initiative in March 2004. Since then the three companies have worked with some of the world’s leading electronics companies to provide access to the cutting-edge technology and seamless sourcing flexibility that Common Platform can enable.