SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Sematech wants to expand its wings. The chip-making consortium is now looking at ways to bring fabless companies into the fold and is also hoping to expand its collaborative efforts with fab tool makers, according to the new president and chief executive of Sematech (Albany, N.Y.).
Daniel Armbrust, the new leader of Sematech, also said the chip-making consortium is currently putting the pieces together to launch an extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography mask consortium. Sematech has previously talked about an EUV mask consortium, but the group has provided few details about the subject.
As reported, Sematech, a consortium of semiconductor manufacturers, earlier this month announced the appointment of Armbrust to serve as its president and CEO. Armbrust was previously responsible for IBM's 300-mm wafer fab in East Fishkill, N.Y.
He succeed Michael Polcari, who has been appointed Sematech's chairman. Polcari succeeds OB Bilous as chairman of Sematech. Polcari had been the CEO for Sematech for the last seven years. The change in management at Sematech "was a personal decision on (Polcari's) part,'' Armbrust told EE Times.
Sematech is not changing its charter amid the management changes. But rather it is expanding its charter to help develop new and breakthrough manufacturing technologies--and for good reason. As the IC world moves down the process curve, ''the costs and technology risks are increasing,'' he said.
At present, Sematech is involved with a number of initiatives, including 450-mm wafers, EUV, materials development, metrology, thru-silicon-via (TSV) technology and others.
Sematech's members include Global Foundries, Hewlett-Packard, Infineon Technologies, IBM, Intel, Micron, National Semiconductor, NEC, Renesas, Samsung, Toshiba, TSMC, UMC and the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) of the University at Albany. Sematech also has 11 associate members, which include equipment and materials makers.
Unlike rival R&D consortium IMEC in Europe, Sematech has no fabless members. One of IMEC's partners is Qualcomm Inc., it was noted. Fabless chip makers use foundries, many of which are pushing the process-technology limits.
As a result, Sematech is also mulling over plans to expand its membership to the fabless community. ''This is something in early thought,'' Armbrust said, noting that the chip-making consortium has no formal fabless program--yet.
The chip-making consortium is also seeking more collaboration with the equipment industry in 3-D packaging, 450-mm fabs, EUV, among other efforts. ''I would like to see further involvement in the equipment industry,'' he said.
This is especially true on the 450-mm front. Sematech is leading the charge towards the 450-mm wafer transition, but many equipment makers are reluctant to jump on the bandwagon. Many equipment makers say the R&D costs are too high and there is no clear payback.
Another issue is extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography. ASML Holding NV and Nikon Corp. are separately building EUV scanners. On various occasions, Intel Corp. and Sematech have warned that there is still a major funding shortfall and a lack of mask inspection gear to enable EUV lithography.
For some time, Sematech has been looking at forming an ''international consortium'' in that arena. The idea is to find ways to fund and devise EUV mask inspection gear.
Sematech continues to put the pieces of an EUV mask consortium on the ''drawing board,'' Armbrust said. A potential group would include Sematech members, but funding is an issue. ''Our goal is to do it without government leverage,'' he said.