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No. 363, December 1999

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Japanese Companies in the US


SEMICONDUCTORS

To support its push into the international market for set-top boxes and other digital television broadcast equipment, MITSUBISHI ELECTRIC CORP. invested $5 million in TERALOGIC, INC. The fabless Mountain View, California start-up, in which MELCO has a 4.3 percent stake, has made a name for itself as a developer of low-cost, high-performance graphics and video processing chipsets for digital TV set-top boxes. Satellite-beamed digital TV broadcasting will begin in Japan toward the end of 2000, followed by terrestrial broadcasting in 2003. By then, ground-based digital TV broadcasting should have started in Europe and Australia. It already is available on a limited scale in the United States. Like other consumer electronics manufacturers, MELCO sees in that rollout a surge in demand for digital TV set-top boxes. TeraLogic's chips have been available in Japan since the spring of 1998.

By the spring of 2000, NEC CORP. expects to be selling 1 million virtual channel memories a month. Within a year, it believes that it can jump the monthly total to 5 million units. A volume order from PC supplier MICRON ELECTRONICS, INC. of Nampa, Idaho is one key to this confidence. The chipmaker's VCM is a new, open-standard DRAM (dynamic RAM) core architecture that addresses the demands that today's multimedia PCs place on their system memories. It does this by increasing memory bus efficiency and performance.

Management of R&D activities for all CANON INC. operations in the Americas has been assigned to CANON U.S.A., INC.'s new Canon Research and Development Group. This organization is headquartered in a recently opened, 163,500-square-foot facility in San Jose, California. Nearly half of the building is occupied by Canon U.S.A.'s Semiconductor Equipment Division. It has space for sales, marketing, customer support and training, including a large clean room where Canon's wafer steppers and scanners can be demonstrated and evaluated. The facility also houses Canon U.S.A.'s software development and publishing unit. That proximity is expected to facilitate timely development of new stepper and scanner software. The center will be used to service and refurbish the company's microlithography tools, work that until now has been performed in Japan. Located in the center as well is the sales and support staff for Canon U.S.A.'s camera, components and computer peripherals divisions.

SHIN-ETSU CHEMICAL CO., LTD.'s Phoenix, Arizona subsidiary is working with wafer stepper manufacturer ULTRATECH STEPPER, INC. to develop processes for thick-film and specialty photoresist applications using the San Jose, California company's 1x and reduction line of microlithography tools. The partners will use Ultratech Stepper's latest equipment to evaluate SHIN-ETSU MICROSI, INC.'s I-line, G-line and broadband resist materials (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 354, March 1999, p. 8). They also will examine the use of these products in a variety of applications, including thin-film heads, micromachining and bump processing.

Semiconductor production equipment manufacturer DSI K.K. has given AMTECH SYSTEMS, INC. of Tempe, Arizona exclusive rights for three years to market its high vacuum-type vertical furnace system for annealing in the United States, Europe and China. In South Korea and Taiwan, the Kawasaki, Kanagawa prefecture company and its marketing partner, which also makes semiconductor production equipment, will collaborate on sales. DSI's SA-200HV features a unique double-wall process tube system that provides a high vacuum with a very low oxygen concentration. For precise temperature control, it has a touch panel controller. The SA-200HV can transfer as many as 25 200-millime-ter (8-inch) wafers at a time. Through its alliance with Amtech Systems, DSI hopes to sell 10 SA- 200HV furnaces outside Japan in 2000 for revenues of $3.8 million and $9.5 million worth in 2003.

ADVANCED MICRO DEVICES, INC. selected the Unity DRM oxide etcher from TOKYO ELECTRON LTD. to perform the critical local interconnect application involving cobalt silicide at its Fab 25 microprocessor front end. AMD migrated to CoSi from titanium silicide when it switched to 0.25-micron processing tech-nology for its new generation of speedy chips. The firm said that it chose the Unity DRM oxide etcher because of its suitability for high-volume manufacturing, the tool's superior critical dimension control, and its highly selective process and precise chamber matching. TEL is the world's leading supplier of oxide etching systems.

In January, the Austin, Texas subsidiary of TOKYO ELECTRON LTD. will begin marketing a fully automatic prober for 300-mm (12-inch) wafers. The mechanical architecture of the second-generation Model P-12XL is designed to sustain high loads while maintaining accuracy. This combination, TEL says, accommodates optimal test conditions for high-pin- count advanced logic and memory devices as well as the precision needed for on-axis alignment of narrow-pitch, small-pad devices across wide temperature ranges. The system comes standard with capabilities for inspecting probe tips and probe marks, a semi- automatic probe card changer for changing larger probe cards and temperature control systems. The Model P-12XL is software-compatible with TEL's 200-mm wafer prober, the P-8 Series Model.

The Methuen, Massachusetts marketing unit of ULVAC JAPAN, LTD. has introduced a pair of sputtering systems. The small, cluster-type Model SME-200 sputtering system for compound semiconductor and SAW (surface acoustic wave) devices responds to manufacturers' interest in depositing thinner films for more compact parts. It can be used with wafers that measure up to 200 mm. Another selling point is the configurability of the SME- 200 with one of three process chambers: a sputtering chamber, a plasma chamber or a heating chamber. The other new sputtering system, the Model SRH-820, is designed for processing CSP (chip-scale packaging) parts. This high-throughput system also can accommodate wafers up to 200 mm. It offers the flexibility of seven process modules, including heating, etching and sputtering.

Generation six of KOMATSU LTD.'s krypton excimer laser light source for high numerical aperture steppers and scanners is available from the company's Santa Clara, California sales office (see Japan-U.S. Business Report No. 359, August 1999, p. 9). The G21K is the world's first deep ultraviolet excimer laser for 0.13-micron processing. It builds on the 248-nanometer, KrF 20-kilohertz G20K excimer laser light source, which is targeted at the 0.15-micron node. To enable steppers and scanners to expose finer line geometries, Komatsu narrowed the laser's bandwidth. It also improved the G21K's energy dose stability.

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