Agreement means TSMC no longer has exclusive foundry access to Belgian group’s research.
Fast-growing foundry group GlobalFoundries (GF) has signed a strategic research deal with Belgian research group imec.
Imec has historically had strong links to GF’s rival – and foundry market leader – the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC).
Although there is increasing co-operative research between competitors in chip manufacturing, alliances between cutting edge research groups have previously tended to involve foundries on an ‘either/or’ basis.
The GF-imec agreement closely mirrors one TSMC signed with imec in April 2010 and covers process research at 22nm and below, as well as extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography. GF and imec will also work together on gallium nitride-on-silicon technology.
Imec has continued an aggressive microelectronics R&D programme in spite of the global recession. It took delivery of one of the first pre-production EUV scanners in late February.
TSMC’s relationship with imec dates back to 2005 and it is a top-tier ‘core partner’. This agreement will see GF receive the same status.
“The mission and capabilities of imec are highly complementary to our current collaborative R&D approach and will add another important dimension to our technology pipeline,” said David Bennett, GF’s vice president of alliances.