LONDON – STMicroelectronics NV (Geneva, Switzerland) has begun working with research partners to develop a 200-mm wafer pilot line for next-generation MEMS devices, augmented with technologies such as piezoelectric materials, magnetic materials and 3-D packaging.
The 30-month project, called Lab4MEMS, has a budget of 28 million euro (about $36 million). It was not disclosed how much of that would be provided by European institutions or national bodies and how much by the participants. A key target of the project is to perfect a lead-zirconate-titanate (PZT) deposition process compatible with mass production and integrate it into established MEMS processes to enable innovative actuators and sensors for system-on-chip industrial products, ST said
The main manufacturing site for the Lab4MEMS pilot line will be at ST's Agrate Brianza facility in Italy and run on 200-mm diameter wafers with a view to a subsequent move to 300-mm wafers later. The line will be able to process more than 600 wafers per week, once in operation, according to documentation on the Lab4MEMS project from ENIAC (The European Nanoelectronics Initiative Advisory Council).
The pilot line will also have a distributed aspect with other locations including ST (Kirkop, Malta) for MEMS packaging and test; the MEMS cluster in Helsinki, Finland, for wafers including through-silicon via (TSV) wafers and SOI and equipment for atomic layer deposition; and the Minatec cluster in Grenoble, France, for the transfer of the PZT process to ST.
ST has started working with universities, research institutions and technology businesses across nine European countries including commercial companies Solmates BV, Cavendish Kinetics BV, Okmetic Oy, Picosun Oy and KLA-Tencor.
These enhanced processes will be used to build smart sensors, actuators, micro pumps and energy harvesters meeting the demands of future data-storage, ink-jet, healthcare, automotive, industrial-control and smart-building applications, as well as consumer applications such as smartphones and navigation devices. The project will also develop packaging technologies using flip-chip, TSV and through-mold vias, enabling 3D-integrated devices for applications such as body area sensors and remote monitoring.
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