LONDON – Qualcomm Technology Inc. has joined the core CMOS R&D collaborative research program of nanoelectronics research institute IMEC (Leuven, Belgium), the institute said Monday (Jan. 28).
In joining the collaborative research program of IMEC, Qualcomm Technology, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Qualcomm Inc. (San Diego, Calif.), joins leading chip companies including Fujitsu, Globalfoundries, Intel, Micron, Panasonic, Samsung, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., SK Hynix, Toshiba/Sandisk and Sony.
Even though Qualcomm is fabless, it is looking to learn about the advanced CMOS processes below 22-nm and to accelerate scaling for next-generation logic and memory products.
In May 2011, IMEC announced that another fabless company, Nvidia Corp. had joined IMEC's core CMOS program on advanced CMOS scaling as an Insite member.
"We continue to invest heavily into technology leadership which includes advanced semiconductor technologies," said Jim Thompson, executive vice president of engineering at Qualcomm Technologies Inc., in a statement issued by IMEC. "We have collaborated with IMEC on the 3-D stacking program for the last four years and we look forward to expanding our engagement with IMEC to include CMOS research and the new MRAM program."
Sounds like good news for the nanoelectronics research institute IMEC. What I'm curious about is how all these companies will be collaborating. Is the institute serving as facility where research can be done (like a machine shop renting out space for development) or are the participating companies jointly funding research. Sounds like an intellectual property challenge - especially with all the cross licensed patents already in play.
So resistor what is your opinion about this decision by Qualcomm? If IP generation at a research institute is a complication, what does Qualcomm expect from this collaboration? is it only a sort of elite club or you think that something good will come out from this joint research? I am based in EU so I am welcoming any initiative that will help Europe not to be relegated at the periphery in the semi world
It certainly was the case that most of the companies that are mentioned have researchers on secondment to Leuven, Belgium. This gives them the opportunity to run wafers on EUV machines...test structures and so on.
A lot of effort goes into defining the scope of the intellectual property so that the companies know which bits are communal IP which all the participants get to share.
For technologies which are equally extremely high risk to all companies (like EUV), it makes sense to have the collaboration model, with actual data and information being shared. For technologies of unequally high risk (like FinFETs) the value may be realized only for some companies, e.g., Qualcomm instead of Intel in the case of FinFETs.
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