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Crolles2 Alliance Facility Expansion, Crolles, France




Key Data


The Crolles Flagship R&D site near Grenoble, France, has been extended with new infrastructure and a 300nm line. The work has been done as part of a five-year agreement extending through to December 2007 between STMicroelectronics, Philips and Motorola.

The Crolles2 Alliance facility was opened in February 2003. The joint R&D centre is pioneering CMOS technology from 90nm processes to 32nm and includes a 300mm wafer semiconductor manufacturing line. Crolles ramped up at the end of 2003.

The Alliance was created in April 2002 when Motorola joined the existing alliance between Philips and STMicroelectronics. TSMC, the world's largest semiconductor foundry, also participates for process development and alignment. The three partners will have invested $1.4 billion in the facility by 2005.

CONSUMER, COMMUNICATIONS AND AUTOMOTIVE SEGMENTS DRIVE 90nm PROCESSES

Miniaturisation of Systems on Chip (SoC) is being driven by consumer, communications and automotive applications. The next generations of process technologies will generate substantial improvements in speed, power reduction, integration and density. Typical applications include DVD players, set top boxes, personal video recorders, PC peripherals and 3G/4G mobile handsets.

The joint Crolles2 R&D will focus on specific technologies: baseline CMOS processing, embedded memories (static, dynamic and magnetic RAM), Silicon On Insulator, analog CMOS, advanced copper interconnect and low power and RF designs. Starting from 90nm, the alliance has piloted CMOS processes at 65nm, and is working on 45nm and, ultimately, the 32nm node. The Alliance demonstrated early successful co-operation between the partners with the industry's first 90nm CMOS design platform and cell libraries for system on chip solutions.

TECHNOLOGIES CONVERGED AT 90NM NODE

The four companies converged their technologies to make them compatible at the 90nm node, which avoided duplication of effort and also saved on buying unnecessary equipment. They were greatly helped by International Sematech, which defined guidelines for a single set of certification requirements to save the semiconductor industry from unnecessary testing of 300mm production equipment. This helped standardise the libraries, design tools and process flows so they could easily be transferred to other fabs.

The alliance companies are also sharing some R&D work, and trying to get their design partners to do the same. Philips Semiconductors and the IMEC consortium (Leuven, Belgium), STM and LETI, and Motorola and International Sematech are all cooperating closely.

Co-operation may be extended within the alliance to exchanges of high-level IP (intellectual property) blocks, which (for example) makes design for re-use much easier. Applications may be limited, however, to those where the companies do not directly compete against each other.

CROLLES2 ALLIANCE BETWEEN MOTOROLA, PHILIPS AND STM

Motorola, Philips and STMicroelectronics are equal technology partners in the Crolles2 alliance in terms of capital expenditure, R&D costs and fab wafer load.

The Alliance has created more than 1,000 direct jobs on the site and more than 4,000 indirect jobs in the region.

The ST group was formed in June 1987 from a merger between SGS Microelettronica of Italy and Thomson Semiconducteurs of France.

Motorola's Semiconductor Products Sector has a strong focus on domestic, office and automotive wireless communications and networking.

Royal Philips Electronics is Europe's largest electronics company with sales of €30.4 billion in 2005.