LONDON – A collaborative research project called Enable450 has started with a three-year remit to co-ordinate European equipment and materials activities around the transition to 450-mm diameter wafers.
The European Union project is intended to address standards setting and also support the much larger ENIAC EEM450PR project which plans to help build a 450-mm pilot line in Leuven, Belgium.
Project participants include Intel Performance Learning Solutions Ltd. (Leixlip, Ireland) as well as major equipment companies ASML Holding NV, ASM International NV, Applied Materials Israel Ltd. and Recif Technologies SA. Wafer supplier Soitec is also present as are the European research institutes IMEC, Leti and Fraunhofer. The project team is completed with the European wing of industry body SEMI and consultancy Future Horizons Ltd.
Enable450 has a budget of 1.24 million euro (about $1.6 million) of which 998,550 euro (about $1.3 million) will be provided by the European Commission.
The relatively low budget for a three-year project reflects that Enable450 is intended to conduct "co-ordination and supporting actions" rather than engineering. One aspect of the project is on linking European equipment and materials companies to the G450C consortium in Albany, New York. The G450C consortium comprises five leading semiconductor companies – IBM, Intel, Globalfoundries, Samsung and TSMC – who have decided to work together on the introduction of 450-mm wafer processing.
Enable450 follows on from the ENIAC EEMI450 three-year project, in which Intel also involved, and which ran from April 2010 to March 2013 with a total budget of 18.3 million euro (about $23.5 million).
It runs in parallel to the three-year ENIAC EEM450PR ?project on pilot line readiness, which began in February 2012. This engineering focused project has 27 members with Intel again represented as the only commercial chip maker, and a budget of 84 million euro (about $108 million) of which the European Commission is funding 14 million euro (about $18 million).
The pilot line is intended to provide Europe with a platform for 450-mm capable equipment and potentially for sub-10nm process development.
Intel and GlobalFoundries both have major state of the art fabs in Europe. One goal is to persuade them in due course to upgrade these to 450mm. In the meantime the imec 450mm pilot line currently in construction will be the most advanced 450mm facility once it is complete.
We have already proposed a way in which ST could become involved in 450mm technology but they currently have alternative plans.
It's strange there's no European semiconductor company involved. Does it mean ST already consider it has no long term future ??? I guess it explains the limited funding. Why EC would found Intel that has no fab in Europe?
Development is covered under other projects as I indicated in copy.
The EEM450PR ?project on pilot line readiness, which began in February 2012 has a budget of 84 million euro (about $108 million) of which the European Commission is funding 14 million euro (about $18 million).