IBM, Infineon, United Micro Team on Semiconductors

MUNICH (01/27/2000) - IBM Corp., Germany's Infineon Technologies AG, and United Microelectronics Corp., the Taiwanese chip manufacturer, today said they have agreed to jointly develop advanced technologies used to produce semiconductors.

The companies plan to develop technologies that will make it possible to manufacture extremely microscopic circuits on logic chips, and to be able to put more functions on one chip.

One goal is to make it possible to manufacture logic chips with circuit sizes between 0.13 to 0.10 microns thick, the companies said in a statement today.

One micron is only 1/100th as wide as a human hair, according to the statement.

Most logic chips currently feature 0.18 micron-technology.

They will also seek to develop technologies that allow improved production of "systems-on-a-chip", in which many functions are carried out on one silicon chip, said Anke Pickhardt, a spokeswoman for Infineon, Siemens AG's Munich-based semiconductor subsidiary.

Those functions include logic, used to process information, embedded DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory), which allows the chip to store information, as well as mixed-signal circuitry.

The processes will also incorporate copper wiring, rather than aluminum, due to its superior ability to conduct electricity, Pickhardt said. This will reduce switching times.

A team of scientists and engineers from all three companies will develop the technologies at IBM's Semiconductor Research and Development Center in the U.S., but will then implement them in their own facilities.

Design manuals based on the first results achieved will be available to customers in the second quarter, the companies said. Each of the three partners will also use the new processes in their own manufacturing facilities.

The current agreement extends through 2003.

IBM, in Armonk, New York, can be reached at +1-914-499-1900 or at http://www.ibm.com/.Infineon can be reached at +49-89-234-0 or at http://www.infineon.com/. UMC is on the Web at http://www.umc.com.tw/.

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