Acceleration: SEMATECH achieves its first mission
SEMATECH's history traces back to 1986, when the idea of launching a bold experiment in industry-government cooperation was conceived to strengthen the U.S. semiconductor industry. The consortium, called SEMATECH (SEmiconductor MAnufacturing TECHnology), was formed in 1987, when 14 U.S.-based semiconductor manufacturers and the U.S. government came together to solve common manufacturing problems by leveraging resources and sharing risks. Austin, Texas, was chosen as the site, and SEMATECH officially began operations in 1988, focused on improving the industry infrastructure, particularly by working with domestic equipment suppliers to improve their capabilities.
By 1994, it had become clear that the U.S. semiconductor industry—both device makers and suppliers—had regained strength and market share; at that time, the SEMATECH Board of Directors voted to seek an end to matching federal funding after 1996, reasoning that the industry had returned to health and should no longer receive government support. SEMATECH continued to serve its membership, and the semiconductor industry at large, through advanced technology development in program areas such as lithography, front end processes, and interconnect, and through its interactions with an increasingly global supplier base on manufacturing challenges.
Globalization: Adding international membership
The International 300 mm Initiative (I300I) was formed as a subsidiary of SEMATECH in 1995, with seven non-U.S. companies and six U.S. companies cooperating on 300 mm tool standards and specifications; in 1998 five of those international companies opted to participate in more of the consortium's programs through a subsidiary called International SEMATECH, and then ultimately made the decision to join SEMATECH as full members. In 2000, SEMATECH completed its first year of operations as a unified global consortium, with members from Asia, Europe, and the U.S., dedicated to cooperative work on semiconductor manufacturing technology.
Collaboration: Driving innovation and industry consensus
Over the years, SEMATECH’s R&D model has continuously evolved to incorporate broader industry participation—including equipment and materials suppliers, fabless companies, foundries, and packaging/assembly companies—as well as collaboration with universities, regional governments, and other consortia in order to foster technology innovation and accelerate the commercialization of new materials and nanostructures for future transistors.
SEMATECH’s manufacturing subsidiary, International SEMATECH Manufacturing Initiative (ISMI), is the only organization in the world exclusively focused on increasing manufacturing effectiveness by providing both tactical and strategic solutions to manufacturing infrastructure, standards, and productivity improvement challenges.
Today, together with our strategic partner, the University at Albany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE), SEMATECH continues to expand our coordination and oversight of next-generation research, development, and commercialization programs in areas such as lithography, 3D interconnects, front end processes, metrology, and manufacturing productivity—while extending our global reach and influence through program partnerships around the world in emerging semiconductor and nanotechnology driven applications. Our collaboration with CNSE, as an early partner (since 2003) and as one of the growing number of high-tech companies engaged at the Albany Nanotech Complex, is a platform for our ongoing cooperative research and development programs, enabling our program expansion and paying real dividends in cutting edge research.
We're proud of our heritage and of our continuing role in a dynamic and global industry. As we look to the future, we will continue to lead the industry in accelerating the next technology revolution.