Foundry chip company United Microelectronics Corp. will work with IBM as part of the IBM Technology Development Alliances group on the development of 10-nm CMOS FinFET process technology.
"Established over a decade ago, the IBM alliance allows the partners to leverage our combined expertise and collaborative research and innovative technology development to address the demanding needs for advanced semiconductor applications," said Gary Patton, VP, IBM Semiconductor Research & Development. "UMC is a strong addition to the alliance."
Po Wen Yen, CEO at UMC, added, "IBM is a recognized leader in fundamental semiconductor technology. We are extremely pleased to work jointly with IBM on advanced fundamentals, and to contribute our many years of experience in developing highly competitive manufacturing technology. Our role as one of the world's top foundries requires us to introduce leading-edge processes in a timely manner to enable next generation customer chip designs. We look forward to collaborating closely with IBM, leveraging their deep technology expertise to shorten our 10nm and FinFET R&D cycles and create a win-win situation for UMC and our customers."
The agreements between UMC and IBM expand upon their 2012 agreements concerning prior nodes, including 14nm FinFET. With IBM's support and know-how from this collaboration, UMC will continue to improve its internally developed 14nm FinFET to offer industry low-power technology enhancements for mobile computing and communication products. The parties plan to develop baseline 10nm process technology to meet the needs of UMC customers. UMC will also send an engineering team to join the 10nm development work that will take place in in Albany, New York, while UMC's 14nm FinFET and 10nm implementation will take place at UMC's Tainan, Taiwan R&D site.
The 10-nm FinFET process could be based on FinFETs constructed on silicon-on-insulator wafer.
UMC has previously said it intends to be in production with the 14-nm FinFET process in the second half of 2014.
UMC is falling behind in the foundry IC production race. For 2013 UMC is expected to have a capital expenditure of about $1.5 billion compared with spending of $9 billion by TSMC and $3.5 billion by Globalfoundries.