STMicroelectronics, Philips and Motorola have opened the Crolles2 Alliance R&D Centre in France, which will pioneer CMOS technology from 90nm processes to 32nm over the next five years.
The centre also includes a 300mm wafer semiconductor manufacturing pilot line, which is now beginning operation, bringing the total investment by the alliance to US$1.4 billion ($2.36 billion).
“The opening of Crolles2 reflects the Alliance's commitment to investing in growth, meeting customer demands for state-of-the-art systems-on- chip solutions and developing a new standard of pre-competitive cooperation within the semiconductor industry," said Gerard Kleisterlee, Chairman and CEO of Royal Philips Electronics.
"We believe the leading-edge technology platforms being developed by the Alliance today will drive the emerging convergence of tomorrow's technologies for multimedia and wireless applications."
Extreme miniaturisation of Systems-on-Chip (SoC) is being driven by the consumer, communications and automotive industries.
The 90nm and next generations of process technologies will generate substantial improvements in speed, power reduction, integration and density compared with today's 0.13- micron technology.
These advances will cut costs and accelerate the arrival on the mass market of new products and features: for instance in DVD players, set-top boxes, personal video recorders, PC peripherals and 3G/4G mobile handsets.
The Grenoble area of France is one of the world's most advanced hubs of high-tech and microelectronic research -- thanks to more than two decades of consistent policy by the French central and local authorities' to encourage public- private partnerships in the sector.
By the end of 2005, the Alliance plans to create more than 1,200 direct jobs on the site and 4,500 indirect jobs in the region.
Specifically, the new centre will focus baseline CMOS processing, embedded memories (static, dynamic and magnetic RAM), Silicon-On-Insulator, analogue CMOS, advanced process modules, advanced copper interconnect, low-power designs and RF capabilities.