Freescale Semiconductor Inc. has dropped out of Sematech, while Japan’s largest electronics company has joined as a full member of the Austin-based research consortium.
A Freescale spokesman said Freescale ended its participation at Sematech in two phases: it gave up its participation in the International Sematech Manufacturing Initiative (ISMI) subsidiary at the end of January 2007, and quit its membership in the core Sematech consortium last August.
“Full” membership in Sematech includes participation in the major research programs, including lithography, transistor front-end, and others. ISMI develops methods to improve manufacturing efficiencies.
At about the time Freescale left the core Sematech group, Panasonic, the international brand name of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. (Osaka, Japan) decided to become a full member of Sematech. While three Japan-based companies -- Panasonic, NEC, and Renesas Technology – are ISMI members, Panasonic is the first Japan-based company to become a full member of Sematech, established in 1988 to restore U.S. chip manufacturing competitiveness.
The Freescale spokesman said the company’s decision to join the Fishkill, N.Y.-based process development alliance was a separate decision from the one to exit Sematech.
“These were separate decisions, though they were part of looking at our overall R&D operation. We are excited about being part of the IBM-led alliance and believe that deal will best serve our needs for advanced CMOS and silicon-on-insulator technologies. We also got a lot of value from being part of Sematech over the years, in lithography and interconnect and high-k development, and we have nothing but the highest respect for Sematech,” the spokesman said.
Freescale will continue to participate in the Crolles II alliance in France until the end of this year, finishing up its 45-nm process co-development.
Sematech has seven full members. They include AMD, H-P, IBM, Intel, Panasonic, Samsung, and Texas Instruments. Those seven, plus another seven companies which are ISMI-only members, make up the Sematech consortium, which has an annual budget of about $160 million, and employs about 450 people. About 20 percent of the staff members are assignees from the member companies; the rest are employed directly.
A Sematech spokesman said Texas Instruments has indicated its desire to remain a full member of Sematech. Last month, TI announced that, starting at the 32-nm node, that it will turn over core CMOS technology development to a still-unnamed foundry partner.
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