2012 is a public/private strategic R&D program, led by ST, which gathers research institutes and industrial partners and is supported by French national, regional and local authorities. The program aims to create one of the world’s most advanced R&D clusters for the development of new generations of semiconductor technologies at the nanoelectronic level, where the dimensions of the structures used to build the silicon chips are in the order of tens of nanometers (billionths of a meter).
The Nano2012 cooperation program, along with other leading cooperative programs such as CATRENE, will significantly contribute to the continued strength of Europe’s electronics industry by providing competitive access to the most advanced CMOS technologies from 32nm down to 22nm. Work on the Nano2012 program started on January 1, 2008. The five-year program, which will run until December 31, 2012, is partly funded (Euros 457 million) by the French public authorities. The program includes the participation of other partners such as INRIA (the French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control), CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research), universities, and many small- and medium-sized enterprise partners.
ST and CEA-LETI have a long history of R&D collaboration, including the initial set up of the Crolles R&D center in 1992. As a leading research laboratory, CEA-LETI provides a vital interface between long-term academic research and ST’s market-driven industrial R&D. In July 2007, ST joined the semiconductor Joint Development Alliance centered at IBM’s Semiconductor Research and Development Center in East Fishkill and Albany, New York, which develops core and low-power CMOS processes from 32 to 22nm, and IBM joined ST in Crolles to develop value-added application-specific derivative CMOS technologies. Additionally, CEA-LETI and IBM, which have strong and complementary expertise in the development of materials and processes required for CMOS technology, are collaborating on advanced process R&D down to 22nm and beyond, at CEA-LETI’s Grenoble site (France), IBM’s East Fishkill facility (NY), ST’s Crolles site (France), and at the Albany NanoTech research center (NY).
Since the start of the Nano2012 program in January 2008, ST and IBM have exchanged researchers between their sites at Crolles and East Fishkill and have begun working along with researchers from CEA-LETI on a variety of key programs, including 32nm and 28 nm core CMOS processes, 45nm RF (Radio Frequency) derivative technology for wireless applications and 65nm non-volatile-memory derivative technology for use in automotive and smart-card applications. These technologies will allow exciting new products in communication, consumer, computer and automotive applications that consume less power and last longer on batteries, operate faster, and provide more functions and greater utility to end users.
Nano2012 focuses on technology platform development for low-power and application-specific derivative CMOS technologies. A technology platform encompasses the manufacturing process by which billions of transistors are integrated onto a single silicon chip as well as the components libraries and the design methodology to efficiently design leading-edge circuits in this process. Utilizing its world-class teams based in Crolles and Grenoble, ST and its partners are already among the world leaders in this area and a key aim of Nano2012 is to extend this leadership.
Value-added application-specific derivative technologies are key differentiators to the standard CMOS technology and an important goal of Nano2012 is for the R&D cluster based in Grenoble-Isere to continue as a world leader in this field.