Understanding Litho-Process Partnerships

Discussion in 'Console Technology' started by Carl B, Dec 15, 2006.

  1. Carl B

    Carl B Friends call me xbd
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    Now here's a favorite topic of mine - the lithography processes behind all our favorite chips.

    Specifically here, I'm wondering what the deal is - the interplay if you would - between all of these various chip companies that have R&D agreements with each other. How transparant are advances made with one partnership allowed to be to partners in another, 'on the side' partnership?

    Specifically, let me outline several modern partnerships here:

    IBM & AMD 45nm

    STI on 32nm

    Sony, Toshiba, NEC on 45nm

    Now these actually are pretty bad examples for the subject I'm discussing, because they actually do not conflict directly with one another... but AMD/IBM/Chartered's recent 65nm work vs STI's 65nm work would be one such example. If the STI crew comes up with something, can IBM take it into the meetings with AMD? And likewise on the reverse. Will the immersion lithography process refined on 45nm with AMD and IBM be translated wholesale to 32nm for Toshiba and Sony when that time comes? Really I'm just wondering to what extent 'partnership' advances are kept within the respective families.

    And speaking of Cell on 32nm, maybe it'll help to create itself? ;)

    (off topic but fun anyway)

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  2. mesyn191

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    Can't find it anymore but there were posts by PD on RWT about this last year, Sony's, IBM's, AMD's, and others processes will be related to each other but all heavily "tweaked" for their specific purposes sometime around when they start to go 45-32nm or so IIRC. So they'll have lots in common but being able to swap tech. will still be no easy and/or straight forward thing so assumptions still could not be made about the others' processes based on info. we get about one.
     
  3. ADEX

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    Good question but these partnerships tend to be for specific processes, e.g. High performance, low power or bulk. I'd imagine there is some degree of sharing tech though, if an IBM guy comes up with an idea I'd imagine IBM can use it in other projects.

    What I thought even better was the thought of Cell being used to create AMD or Intel processors, don't think they'll be keen on admitting it though!
     
  4. Carl B

    Carl B Friends call me xbd
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    I don't doubt that there is some tech sharing, which is sort of what prompted this in the first place. I agree the partnerships by their natures target different things (ie bulk, SOI, etc...), but that is in part a factor in my curiosity. For example Sony, NEC, and Toshiba's bulk 45nm efforts are likely altogether a seperate 'thing' from AMD and IBMs 45nm efforts - though both target immersion lithography - but come STI 32nm Cell time, will that lithograohy tech and knowledge be pooled between the three? Or will AMD and NEC respectively be able to flag aspects that must be held back?

    Also with the Cell development STI partnership at 65nm, Sony has picked up the silicon-on-insulator expertise needed to open their own SOI line at Nagasaki. Toshiba however is pursuing a low-power bulk process at that node, and I wonder - did IBM factor in to that research? It's not normally their thing these days. Is that aspect of Cell fabrication something Sony and Toshiba pursued completely on the side, as part of their CMOS bulk R&D agreement?

    You know... not that any of this is material in our day to day discussions, but just whenever possible, I like to have an understanding of the business side of these technology dealings. :)

    @Mesyn191: Thanks for those node insights, now I have to try and do some Googling. I suppose the base similarities likely relate to common pursuit of immersion lithography by both the AMD/IBM alliance and the Sony/Toshiba/NEC alliance.
     
    #4 Carl B, Dec 15, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2006
  5. 3dilettante

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    I think it's an interesting reflection of the cost of further scaling that we see partnerships between companies that would probably like to go it alone.

    For another reason for this collaboration, notice that there is one big chip firm that so far hasn't been mentioned...
     
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