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02
February
2005

Freescale, Philips, ST to extend joint R&D

The Crolles2 Alliance partners Freescale Semiconductor , Philips and STMicroelectronics have extended the scope of their joint semiconductor R&D activities to include R&D related to wafer testing and packaging, in addition to the original development of sub 100-nm CMOS process technologies.
"The combined expertise of Freescale, STMicroelectronics and Philips will provide the Crolles2 Alliance with an industry-leading packaging and test foundation. This agreement will enable future generations of semiconductor technologies supporting applications in the automotive, consumer, industrial, networking and wireless markets," said the Alliance members in a joint statement from René Penning de Vries, senior vice president and chief technology officer, Philips Semiconductors; Claudine Simson, chief technology officer, Freescale Semiconductor; and Laurent Bosson, corporate vice-president, Front-End Technology and Manufacturing, STMicroelectronics.

This agreement reflects the special needs of wafer testing and packaging for devices produced on 300-mm wafers in 90-nm, 65-nm CMOS and beyond. It will look at all aspects of post-fabrication wafer processing including probing, grinding, sawing, die attach, wire-bonding, flip chip and package molding techniques as well as optimization of bond-pad stack design.

"New materials used in 65-nm processes, such as ultra-low K dielectrics, significantly change the nature of the silicon that you have to handle during assembly and test," the Alliance said. "This means that existing equipment and processes have to be refined to maintain high production yields."

The expanded relationship builds on two years of successful collaboration in the semiconductor industry's largest R&D alliance. By combining efforts, alliance members have achieved several milestones in 90-nm production and 65-nm process development.

The partners will establish a new research laboratory in Grenoble (France) staffed by about 20 scientists and technicians drawn from the three companies. The partners now have more than 1000 employees working on front-end process development in Crolles, near Grenoble.

The lab will focus on bond-pad stack design and the assessment of low-stress probing, sawing and assembly processes including laser cutting and low-stress molding materials. It will also investigate requirements specification for the next generation of assembly and test equipment. The new Crolles2 Alliance assembly and test R&D team will also work closely with key equipment suppliers.

All three companies now have experience in the production and handling of 300-mm wafers produced on the Alliance's 90-nm CMOS production line in Crolles (France). This new expansion of the Alliance for extended R&D in assembly and test will help the Alliance partners remain in-line with the ITRS roadmap for process introduction and at the leading edge of assembly and test technology. Ultimately, it will help to ensure timely high-volume delivery of devices fabricated in these new processes to their customers.
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