STMicroelectronics, one of
the world's leading semiconductor companies and a world leader in CMOS imaging
technology, and Soitec,
the world's leading supplier of engineered substrates, today announced an exclusive
joint cooperation between the two companies that will lead to the development
of 300mm wafer-level backside-illumination (BSI) technology for next-generation
image sensors in consumer products.
The resolution of today's leading-edge image sensors is continuously increasing,
while demand is high for the overall reduction of the camera-module footprint,
particularly in consumer markets. This means the necessary development of smaller
individual pixel sizes, while maintaining pixel sensitivity to produce high-quality
images. Backside illumination is a key enabling technology to meet this challenge
in the development of next-generation image sensors.
The agreement between the two companies includes the licensing by Soitec to
ST of the Smart Stacking bonding technology for the manufacturing of backside-illumination
sensors on 300mm wafers. This technology, developed by Soitec's Tracit business
unit, leverages molecular bonding, and mechanical, as well as chemical thinning.
ST will develop a new generation of image sensors based on its advanced derivative-CMOS
process technology at 65nm and beyond, at its 300mm facility in Crolles, France.
In combination with ST's advanced wafer-level manufacturing capabilities, the
Smart Stacking technology will enable ST to increase its leadership in developing
and supplying high-performance image sensors for mobile consumer products.
"Backside illumination technology is a key ingredient in the small-pixel,
high-image-quality race for the development of leading-edge image sensors,"
said Eric Aussedat, Group Vice President and General Manager, Imaging Division,
STMicroelectronics. "Partnering with Soitec will help quickly deploy the
Smart Stacking technology into ST's camera products. This agreement will accelerate
the development of advanced and superior cost-competitive image-sensor processes,
and further confirms the Grenoble region as a world-class center of expertise
for advanced CMOS imaging technologies."
"We are very pleased that STMicroelectronics has chosen our Smart Stacking
technology for their BSI product," said Andre-Jacques Auberton-Herve, chairman
and president of the Soitec Group. "This technology developed by our Tracit
business unit, supports fast implementation of advanced processes involving
substrate engineering and 3D integration. We are glad to support ST's commitment
to innovation for the benefit of their customers."
STMicroelectronics is a global leader in developing and delivering semiconductor
solutions across the spectrum of microelectronics applications. An unrivalled
combination of silicon and system expertise, manufacturing strength, Intellectual
Property (IP) portfolio and strategic partners positions the Company at the
forefront of System-on-Chip (SoC) technology and its products play a key role
in enabling today's convergence markets. The Company's shares are traded on
the New York Stock Exchange, on Euronext Paris and on the Milan Stock Exchange.
In 2008, the Company's net revenues were $9.84 billion. Further information
on ST can be found at http://www.st.com.
Soitec is the world's leading supplier of engineered substrates for advanced
microelectronics. The Group produces a wide range of advanced materials, especially
silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafers based on its Smart Cut technology -- the first
high-volume application for this proprietary technology. SOI is currently seen
as the platform of the future, paving the way to higher-performance, faster,
and more economical chips. Soitec currently produces over 80% of SOI wafers.
Headquartered at Bernin in France, with two high-volume production units on
site, Soitec also has offices in the US, Japan, and Taiwan, and a new production
site is in the process of customer qualification in Singapore. Two other business
units : Picogiga International (Les Ulis) and Tracit Technologies (Bernin).
Picogiga delivers advanced substrates solutions, including III-V epiwafers and
gallium nitride (GaN) wafers, to the compound material world for the manufacture
of high-frequency electronics and other optoelectronic devices. Tracit, on the
other hand, provides thin-film layer transfer technologies used to manufacture
engineered substrates for power ICs and microsystems, as well as generic circuit
transfer technology, Smart Stacking for applications such as image sensors and
3D integration. Shares for the Soitec Group are listed on Euronext Paris.