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Freescale Semiconductor and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) have signed an agreement to jointly develop a new generation of silicon-on-insulator (SOI) high-performance transistor front-end technology targeted for the 65nm advanced CMOS process node. The agreement also provides TSMC with manufacturing rights to Freescale’s 90nm SOI technology.

TSMC and Freescale have been developing SOI technology independently for a number of years. Freescale has developed three generations of SOI technology since the mid-1980s. The company has shipped more than 7 million SOI-enabled products since it started production in 2001. It is currently establishing a 90nm CMOS SOI manufacturing platform in its Dan Noble Center facilities in Austin, Texas, USA, for next-generation high performance networking and computing products. TSMC has been independently developing SOI technology starting from 0.13 micron technology node since the late 1990s. TSMC has reported excellent SOI device performance and SRAM cell compactness, according to the statement of both companies.

“Freescale has valued experience and expertise in SOI manufacturing, while TSMC leads the foundry industry in the development of advanced processes including SOI technology. The combined strengths of the two companies will create a competitive SOI technology,” said Ping Yang, vice president of research and development at TSMC.

The collaboration of TSMC and Freescale is expected to enable faster time to market of 65nm SOI technology for innovative applications in a variety of markets. During the joint development of the 65nm SOI high-performance transistor front-end technology, the two companies are expected to develop independently their own 65nm metallization back-end technology tailored to their specific market applications. Freescale will apply the overall technology to 65nm SOI chips at 300mm in the Crolles2 joint R&D and pilot manufacturing facility in France, which it shares with Philips and STMicroelectronics. TSMC may apply the technology in its Taiwan facilities, with a high-speed version that targets performance-driven applications in networking and computing and a low-power version for handheld and portable applications.

“Freescale has been providing customers with high-performance SOI products for four years. TSMC has been a long-time valuable foundry provider to Freescale. The company is also a great partner through the joint development program we have with Philips and STMicroelectronics in Crolles, France, near Grenoble. We have an excellent long-term relationship with TSMC and look forward to developing together this 65-nm SOI high-performance transistor technology,” said Freescale Chief Technology Officer Dr. Claudine Simson.

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