IBM to Broaden Access to Silicon Germanium for Emerging Chip Designs

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East Fishkill, N.Y. - 26 Mar 2001: IBM today announced an initiative to assist emerging companies and universities worldwide in developing innovative silicon germanium (SiGe) communications chip designs.

IBM's Multi-Project Wafer (MPW) initiative is intended to help small, innovative organizations design and prototype high-performance SiGe chips at a lower cost. Currently, many of these advanced chip designs don't move from the "lab to the fab" because their limited quantity makes it economically impractical to manufacture them. To solve this problem, IBM has entered into an agreement to provide SiGe wafer manufacturing services to MOSIS, an independent prototyping and production service that offers a single interface for companies and universities who want to share overhead costs associated with the development and production of microchips.

"We created the SiGe MPW initiative to extend the reach of our advanced semiconductor technology to a community of talented chip designers who normally would not have an opportunity to work with IBM," said Kenneth Torino, director of wireless products for IBM. "By helping more companies and universities achieve easier access to the technology for prototype design, we intend to establish a solid base of current and future customers experienced with the IBM's SiGe technology."

Under the SiGe MPW initiative, customers share development and manufacturing expenses by submitting separate chip designs--typically early prototypes--for consolidation and manufacture together on a single wafer. MOSIS will contract directly with customers to integrate multiple chip designs onto a single mask set and arrange for prototype production of the chips at IBM's chip-making facility in Burlington, Vt.

"IBM is creating a unique opportunity for chip designers by offering easier access to its advanced silicon germanium chip technology," said Wes Hansford, deputy director of the MOSIS Service. "This program will enable MOSIS customers to develop chips for high-performance, high-frequency applications such as wireless handsets."

To help jump-start new users of the SiGe MPW program, IBM is also working with Cadence Design Systems to provide cost effective design services, design kit installation support and a design software package to help facilitate the design process.

"We have been working closely with IBM in support of its silicon germanium technology and believe that the MPW initiative could clearly benefit many emerging companies," said David DeMaria, senior vice president of worldwide marketing for Cadence. "Cadence is positioned to provide a complete solution including training, tools, and services for design entry, RF and base-band simulation, layout, and physical verification to IBM's targeted audiences for the MPW initiative. This cooperative effort can help drive the realization of many designs that otherwise would not have been possible."

Customers can obtain more information about IBM's SiGe MPW initiative by locating and contacting their local IBM sales office at: