Semiconductor foundry giant TSMC announces entry into MEMS market

May 2, 2008 — Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) of Taiwan, by all accounts the world’s largest dedicated semiconductor foundry, unveiled plans to enter the MEMS business during a press meeting earlier this week, according to Nikkei Microdevices magazine. The publication reports that TSMC presented a roadmap of the MEMS process, and that Robert Chin-fu Tsai, director of MEMS program at TSMC, will detail the company’s MEMS business plans later this month. Tsai will reportedly cover trends in MEMS production at “CMOS integrated MEMS foundries.”

TSMC has shown interest in MEMS manufacturing for some time. Nearly a year ago, SVTC Technologies of San Jose, Calif., a process development foundry for established and start-up MEMS and semiconductor companies which — spun out from Cypress Semiconductor Corp. in March 2007 — unveiled a strategic technology incubation program with TSMC. The deal aimed to streamline the transfer of designs from SVTC’s fab to high-volume manufacturing. At the time, Ken Chen, Director of Mainstream Technology Marketing at TSMC announced the partnership by saying, “This strategic alliance expands the TSMC ecosystem to enable more innovations by allowing companies, especially those who need special equipment, to develop products at SVTC and transfer accepted business smoothly to TSMC manufacturing.”

SVTC has characterized itself as unusual in offering MEMS and CMOS integration on six-inch wafers.

Just last month, the French MEMS foundry Tronics Microsystems and IMEC, representing Europractice IC Service, announced their collaboration to enable Europractice IC Service to add MEMS to its Multi-Project Wafer (MPW) programs. Europractice IC Service helps universities, research institutes and companies realize their goals for ASIC design and manufacturing. The organization offers prototyping and small-volume production through MPW and dedicated wafer runs at leading foundries and IC manufacturers, including TSMC.

Read the original report from Nikkei Microdevices.

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