SANTA CLARA, Calif. Amid a major shift towards 90-nm technology on 300-mm wafers, Taiwan's United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC) is quietly "engaging" customers with its new and unannounced 65-nm process.
UMC has been developing its 65-nm technology for some time, and now, the company appears to be talking to customers about making chips based on the process. "We're engaging with customers [for our 65-nm process]," said Kuen Chow, vice president of field applications engineering for UMC, the world's second largest foundry vendor.
During an interview at the Foundry Suppliers Forum on Wednesday (Aug. 18) here Chow declined to comment on the specifics of UMC's 65-nm process. Observers speculate the Taiwanese foundry company will deploy copper-interconnects, ultra low-k, and other technologies for the 65-nm node.
Leading-edge chip companies plan to sample their 65-nm chips as early as the first half of 2005. Foundry rival Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC) is also engaging with customers with its 65-nm process technology, with products expected to be shipped in the first half of next year--or earlier. Volumes for 65-nm products are not expected until 2006, according to TSMC (see June 11 story).
For once, UMC agrees with its foundry competitor. "65-nm will be in mass production in 2006," Chow said.
While UMC is developing its 65-nm process, the company is also making a big push for 90-nm technology on 300-mm wafers. "Our 90-nm fabs are in mass production," he said during a presentation at the Foundry Suppliers Forum, which was sponsored by the Fabless Semiconductor Association.
UMC plans to expand its 300-mm capacity, from about 20,000 wafers a month right now, to 30,000 by year's end, he said. The company has two 300-mm fabs, including one in Taiwan (Fab 12A) and another in Singapore (UMCi).