LONDON European semiconductor manufacturing equipment companies have come together with chip maker Intel Corp. and research group IMEC to form a European 450-mm diameter wafer equipment and materials initiative, called EEMI-450.
The group has held a couple of meetings during 2009 and applied for funding under the ENIAC European nanotechnology program and under the European Union Framework Project 7 (FP7) as a so-called co-ordinated action.
The objective of the ENIAC EEMI-450 and CASA-450 programs is "to improve the competitiveness of the European semiconductor E&M [equipment and materials] industry and therefore increase the chances to be selected by the tier 1 semiconductor companies in their future 450-mm operations," according to a presentation from Bas Van Nooten, director of European cooperative programs for ASM International NV (Almere, The Netherlands), who has been acting as a spokesman for EEMI-450.
The projects are also expected "to stimulate a European infrastructure that is leading in 450-mm development and as a result will induce tier 1 companies to [join] cooperation programs and possibly equip 450-mm fabs in Europe," van Nooten added in the presentation.
The later is clearly aimed at Intel which is one of very few chip manufacturers with an interest in 450-mm wafers and a manufacturing presence in Europe. Over the last 20 years Intel has constructed several wafer fabs near Dublin, Ireland.
Other companies driving a transition to 450-mm diameter wafers are Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd.
A steering committee for EEMI-405 has been formed with representatives from ASM International, ASML Holding NV, Siltronic AG, Soitec SA, IMEC, Recif Technologies SA, Fraunhofer Institut of Integrated Systems and Device Technology (Fraunhofer-IISB) and two representatives from Intel.