austriamicrosystems and IBM Announce Process Development Agreement on High-Voltage CMOS Process

April 24, 2007 by Jeff Shepard

IBM and austriamicrosystems announced the signing of a development agreement for an advanced high-voltage (HV) complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) process technology to be used in a range of consumer, automotive, industrial and medical applications.

IBM and austriamicrosystems will enhance IBM’s 180 nanometer (nm) radio frequency (RF) CMOS process technology with austriamicrosystems’ proprietary high-voltage module. This HV module is currently in volume production as part of austriamicrosystems’ 350nm high voltage CMOS process technology. Due to the strict modularity with the base process, customers designing on the 180nm CMOS process may use their existing design IP to allow a very fast time to market. Foundry customers for this process will have access to process design kits from IBM as well as austriamicrosystems ("HIT-Kit") which are targeted for limited availability at the beginning of next year. Production is scheduled to begin in 2009 at IBM’s 200mm facility in Essex Junction, Vermont, and the technology will be transferred to austriamicrosystems’ facility at a later point in time.

"This is a landmark agreement for both IBM and austriamicrosystems," said Tom Reeves, Vice President, Semiconductor and Technology Services, IBM Global Engineering Solutions. "We recognize austriamicrosystems’ experience in high-voltage technology, and our combined efforts will provide IBM and austriamicrosystems with an advanced process offering to benefit our customers. And the timing is right – we are seeing an increasing demand in specialty processes for applications like power management."

John Heugle, CEO of austriamicrosystems, said, "We are very pleased to team up with IBM, the world leader in semiconductor development, for the next analog technology node. Leveraging our long-term process development know-how in high-voltage CMOS, we complement IBM’s expertise in advanced CMOS process technology in order to enable a very fast development cycle and a top performing process technology. As a key element of austriamicrosystems’ strategic roadmap, the 180nm high-voltage CMOS process demonstrates our clear focus on leading-edge analog integrated circuit (IC) solutions. Based on this advanced technology, we will bring a wide range of exciting high performance analog products to the market. In addition, this process will be available to our foundry customers for their future products."

The newly developed, high-performance process can enable cost-effective designs for a wide range of applications including intelligent power management ICs for mobile devices, like cell phones, PDAs and notebooks, and low-cost integrated controllers for automotive, industrial and medical applications. In mobile devices, these power management chips are designed specifically to manage and regulate a range of power requirements, resulting in more efficient battery consumption – in order for these products to run longer, with better performance and at lower cost.