Taiwan-based semiconductor foundry United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC) has licensed IBM technology to expedite the development of the foundry's next generation 20nm CMOS process with FinFET 3D transistors.
Under the terms of the agreement, IBM will license its 20nm process design kit and FinFET technology to UMC so the foundry can use these technologies in order to accelerate the availability of these processes for UMC customers.
Dr. IC Chen, vice president of Advanced Technology Development at UMC, said, "We are happy to engage with a recognized technology leader such as IBM for this technology advancement effort. UMC's position as a world-leading foundry involves timely introduction of leading-edge processes to enable next generation customer chip designs. Leveraging IBM's technology expertise to shorten our 20nm and FinFET R&D cycle will create a win-win situation for UMC and our customers."
This agreement between UMC and IBM is only inclusive of IBM's 20nm CMOS and FinFET. UMC's internally developed 20nm planar process will be aligned to IBM's design rules and process/device targets, while UMC's FinFET will be offered as a low-power technology enhancement option for mobile computing and communication products. Implementation will take place at the company's Tainan, Taiwan R&D site.
UMC is currently lagging behind No.1 foundry player TSMC. The company is producing 28nm chips for Texas Instruments (OMAP 5) and Qualcomm (integrated baseband chips).