SAN FRANCISCO Photomask supplier Photronics Inc. Monday (Jan. 9) said it plans to build a state-of-the-art photomask fabrication facility at an undetermined site in Korea.
Photronics (Brookfield, Conn.) said the facility would support the development and volume production of advanced photomask technologies for the 65- and 45-nanometer nodes and beyond. The company said it is currently in the final stages of securing a site for the facility, and plans to break ground during the second half of this year.
The facility, dubbed a "nanotechnology fab" by Photronics, is expected to be completed during the second half of 2007 and should cost between $150 million and $300 million, according to the company.
"Our ability to build upon the company's world class service offerings and to achieve its goal of profitable technology leadership requires that selective strategic investments be made," said Michael Luttati, Photronics CEO, in a statement.
Photronics currently maintains an Asia-based R&D center in Cheon-an, Choong-nam, Korea, which, according to the company, has been working on 65-nm technologies for the past year.
Photronics said the decision to locate the new facility in Korea was determined by several factors, including regional customer relationships and access to engineering talent, as well as investment incentives. Korea's status as one of the fastest growing regions within the Asian market was also a consideration, the company said.
"Asian semiconductor manufacturers and foundries have rapidly advanced their capabilities, and thus their need for high-end photomask solutions," said S.H. Jeong, president of Photronics Asia.