Europe Should Back Imec
It looks as if the first demonstration tools for 450mm will be put in place next year at The College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) in Albany, New York, which is leading and co-ordinating US microelectronics research into progress down the Moore’s Law trail.
Why aren’t the first 450mm demonstration tools being installed at Imec, the world’s leading microelectronics research establishment?
The answer, it seems, is politics.
Instead of supporting Imec’s position as the world’s pre-eminent microelectronics R&D centre, some elements of the European chip industry argue that Imec works with companies like Samsung, Intel and TSMC which are not European.
This is as silly as the arguments made 25 years ago when Siemens went to Toshiba for help with CMOS technology being developed as part of the EC-backed Megaproject, and when IBM, Siemens and Motorola invited Toshiba to join them in a consortium to develop advanced process technology.
In the high-tech world, nationalism doesn’t work. You work with the best, or you become second best.
Intel realised that when they backed ASML to take over Silicon Valley Group against the politicking of US Congressmen and Senators who said this would be handing key technology to foreigners.
While Europe’s microelectronics companies seem content with sinking to Tier 2 status in chip technology capability, it is all the more vital that Europe’s one undisputed centre of microelectronics excellence should have its plans backed by all those who wish European microelectronics well.