SAN FRANCISCO—Memory chip vendor Micron Technology Inc. has entered into a three-year technology development and IP licensing agreement with Intermolecular Inc., a provider of semiconductor technology research and development services, Intermolecular said Wednesday (April 17). Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The deal, focused on technology development and related IP for advanced memory technologies, will involve development activities at Intermolecular's R&D center in San Jose, Calif. It will also involve Intermolecular's High Productivity Combinatorial (HPC) innovation platform, which Intermolecular claims dramatically increases the quantity and quality of material and physical characterization, unit-process development and device integration data.
The collaboration is expected to provide time-to-market improvements for Micron through acceleration of advanced materials development Intermolecular said.
Intermolecular has for five years maintained a relationship with Japan's Elpida Memory Inc., which Micron is in the process of acquiring. According to David Lazovsky, Intermolecular president and CEO, the deal with Micron ensures that there will be a continuation of Intermolecular's collaboration on Elpida's DRAM technology and also expands that relationship to include collaboration on non-volatile memory.
"We are thrilled to be building on that relationship and expanding it with Micron," Lazovsky said.
Intermolecular has publicly disclosed relationships with Toshiba, Sandisk, Globalfoundries and TSMC. According to Lazovsky, the company is also working with other large chip companies that cannot publicly disclose.
Intermolecular strives to improve R&D efficiency in the semiconductor and clean energy industries through collaborations that use its HPC platform, which allows R&D experimentation to be performed at speeds up to 100 times faster than traditional methods, according to the company.
"Micron's global R&D efforts are focused on creating advanced memory solutions, and we believe development of new materials technology is a key enabler to many of our future challenges," said Scott DeBoer, Micron's vice president of R&D, in a statement.
While financial details were not disclosed, Intermolecular is typically compensated both with development fees and with royalties associated with any resulting technologies developed. Lazovsky likens the company's model to that of ARM Holdings plc on the design IP side.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.