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TSMC (TWSE: 2330; NYSE: TSM) and CEA-Leti, the leading French semiconductor research institute, signed an agreement today in which TSMC will join the new industrial program IMAGINE, led by CEA-Leti, on maskless lithography for IC manufacturing. Intended to operate for three years, this program allows companies to assess a maskless lithography infrastructure for IC manufacturing and use MAPPER Technology as a solution towards high throughput. It covers a global approach, including tool assessment, patterning and process integration, data handling, prototyping and cost analysis.
"TSMC is always pushing for cost-effective lithography and the development of maskless lithography is one of the potential solutions. We have already announced the joint steps with Mapper to explore multiple e-beam lithography for IC manufacturing at 22 nanometer node and beyond," said TSMC's VP of R&D, Jack Sun. "By joining the IMAGINE program at CEA-Leti, we intend to federate the semiconductor industry around this technology and accelerate its development and introduction for IC manufacturing."
"Lithography is a major challenge for the industry. A maskless approach can offer flexibility and gain in cost of ownership. Together with MAPPER, we see a route towards industrial throughput," said Leti's CEO, Laurent Malier. "Having TSMC on board the IMAGINE program is pivotal and will strengthen the assessment towards manufacturing. It shows the commitment in the technology from the industry and will take maskless lithography to the next step in the development that is required to make it a viable solution for 22-nm manufacturing."
TSMC is the world's largest dedicated semiconductor foundry, providing the industry's leading process technology and the foundry's largest portfolio of process-proven libraries, IP, design tools and reference flows. The Company's total managed capacity in 2008 exceeded 9 million 8-inch equivalent wafers, including capacity from two advanced 12-inch - GIGAFABs(TM), four eight-inch fabs, one six-inch fab, as well as TSMC's wholly owned subsidiaries, WaferTech and TSMC (China), and its joint venture fab, SSMC. TSMC is the first foundry to provide 40nm production capabilities. Its corporate headquarters are in Hsinchu, Taiwan.
CEA is a French Research and Technology Organisation, with activities in three main areas: Energy, Technologies for Information and Healthcare, and Defence and Security. Within CEA, the Laboratory for Electronics & Information Technology (CEA-Leti) works with companies in order to increase their competitiveness through technological innovation and transfers. Leti is focused on micro and nanotechnologies and their applications, from wireless devices and systems, to biology and healthcare or photonics. Nanoelectronics and Microsystems (MEMS) are at the core of its activities. As a major player in MINATEC excellence centre, Leti operates 8,000 m(2) state-of-the-art clean rooms, on 24/7 mode, on 200 mm and 300 mm wafer standards. With 1,200 employees, Leti trains more than 150 Ph.D. students and hosts 200 assignees from partner companies. Strongly committed to the creation of value for the industry, Leti puts a strong emphasis on Intellectual Property and owns more than 1,400 patent families. In 2008, contractual income covered more than 75% of its budget worth 205 MŅ. For more information, visit www.leti.fr.
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