Q. Opening the 3D interconnect program to companies that are not “core” members of Sematech -- is this the start of a new membership model for Sematech?
Polcari: We are opening up the 3D program to individual subscriptions. We’ve had good success with the ISMI (International Sematech Manufacturing Initiative), addressing a very specific set of topics with companies that may not be interested in full Sematech membership.
There is a lot of interest in the 3D program by a set of companies that may not be interested in the overall Sematech portfolio. TEL is already participating. Potentially we could bring in the fabless guys, potentially the assembly and packaging companies. The vision is to bring in five to 10 companies and their assignees.
Q. When I think of core membership in Sematech, I think of ten million dollars a year and up. When I think of ISMI, I think of a million and up. What about the 3D program?
Polcari: I’d say it’s more on the order of the ISMI kind of range. It offers good value for the kind of money people invest. This is a new program, so we tell companies to come and talk to us.
Q. Is this program an indication that the big chip companies are going to implement 3D interconnects fairly soon?
Polcari: Some of them are looking at it. The program is an indication that people are becoming more serious about alternatives to traditional scaling. It fits into our background in materials and materials selection. It is certainly an indication that people are looking at this seriously.
Q What about the EDA companies? Any plan to involve them in the 3D program?
Polcari: EDA is something that we need to factor in at some point. Right now we don’t have discussions going on, but there is a component of 3D implementation that involves EDA and design. For the most part, the core Sematech members see design as part of their competitive advantage. But there is no question that 3D design is something Sitaram (Arkalgud, the 3D Interconnect program manager) is considering.
Q. What about the memory area? There has been talk about a Sematech memory program for about a year now.
Polcari: We are doing some memory work today, similar to the 3D program. The memory program will be open to others. We are in discussion with some (non-Sematech-member) companies. Among our current Sematech members, there is one memory company, Samsung So we are looking for some other participants, similar to the 3D program.
We want to capitalize on the skills we have with materials and materials screening. We will be looking at all the materials needed for phase-change memories, DRAMs, flash, other forms of embedded memory. There is a whole host of materials, with a lot of commonality. The way we go about doing the screening requires similar skills to the materials screening we did in the high-k program, though the criteria is different.
That’s why we have a good value proposition in materials for memories.
Q. Who are you talking to for the memory program?
Polcari: Obviously there are the memory companies, there’s some foundries who do memory work, there are equipment and materials suppliers, and there’s also some logic companies because of their interest in embedded memories.
About weQuest: weQuest's are written by G Dan Hutcheson, his career spans more than thirty years, in which he became a well-known as a visionary for helping companies make businesses out of technology. This includes hundreds of successful programs involving product development, positioning, and launch in Semiconductor, Technology, Medicine, Energy, Business, High Tech, Enviorntment, Electronics, healthcare and Business devisions.