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  • NEC Starts Plant for 0.07-0.18-Micron Microchip Tech
  • July 9, 1998 (TOKYO) -- NEC Corp. announced it started operation of its UC Plant, a stronghold for research, development and pilot production of 0.07-micron to 0.18-micron process technology.
    It held an inspection tour of the facilities for the press on July 3.

    The new operation is located in NEC's Sagamihara plant, Kanagawa Prefecture. NEC will invest 200 billion yen (US$1.4 billion) in it over the 10 years starting with the ground breaking in January 1996 .

    The UC Plant is a six-story high building with a total floor space of 25,000 square meters, including clean rooms that stretch for three floors and have 6,500 square meters each.

    For the first stage of the UC Plant project, the company invested 50 billion yen (US$350 million) in the UC6 line, which started operations on the sixth floor. Although the line has a monthly production capacity of 5,000 wafers (200mm, it started producing 3, 000 wafers per month at present.

    Keiichi Shimakura, NEC senior vice president, said at a press conference that NEC will use the UC Plant as a stronghold to support its business in the 21st century.

    Susumu Sato, assistant general manager of the firm's VLSI Manufacturing Engineering Division, said that the UC6 line will work to achieve three goals: it will shorten the turn-around time needed to pilot products, it will save energy and alleviate the burden on the environment and it will technically support the company's other mass-production lines.

    Both development and pilot production activities of the UC6 line are fulfilled on the same floor to assure the speedy transfer of technology and shorten the turn-around time.

    The line also has a configuration that enables the company to reduce perfluorocarbon for energy saving and alleviate the burden on the environment. The electric power needed for air conditioning has been reduced by 25-40 percent.

    The line has partially installed manufacturing equipment for 300mm wafers to make assessments that would support the mass-production lines technically in the near future.

    Osamu Kudoh, general manager of ULSI Device Development Laboratories , unveiled its future R&D; plans using the UC6.

    The design rules to be adopted for logic IC chips will become smaller year by year. NEC will start mass-production of logic IC chips using a 0.18-micron design rule in early 1999. One year after , in early 2000, the company will start mass production of logic IC chips with 0.15-micron process technology. Also in early 2001, NEC will start mass production of logic IC chips using a 0.13-micron design rule.

    For DRAMs, the development of 265Mb DRAM chips will be completed this year and mass production will be started in early 1999. Sample shipments of 1Gb DRAM chips will start in early 1999 and mass production will start as early as mid-2001. Sample shipments of 4Gb DRAM chips will start in mid-2001.

    KrF excimer laser steppers will be used for lithography of a 0.15 -micron design rule. However, the development of ArF excimer laser steppers with reasonable prices will be urgently needed to realize the 0.13-micron process technology since KrF laser might not be able to handle this level of precision technology, Kudoh said.

    More information is in English at: http://.nec.co.jp/english /today/newsrel/9807/0301.html

    (Nikkei Microdevices)

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    Updated: Wed Jul 8 16:18:36 1998