Applied Materials, Inc. and the Institute of Microelectronics (IME), a research institute under the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), today announced a five-year extension of their research collaboration at the Centre of Excellence in Advanced Packaging in Singapore. The organizations will expand the scope of their R&D collaboration to focus on advancing Fan-Out Wafer-Level Packaging (FOWLP), a key technology inflection expected to help make chips and end-user devices smaller, faster and more power efficient.
With an anticipated additional S$188 million of combined investment, the Centre will expand to a second location at Fusionopolis 2, in addition to the existing facility at Singapore’s Science Park II. The two facilities combined will span an area of approximately 1,700 square meters and be staffed by a team of close to 100 researchers, scientists and engineers. The Centre was built to develop new capabilities in advanced packaging through a full line of Applied Materials’ Wafer-Level Packaging (WLP) processing equipment, and has successfully delivered advancements in semiconductor hardware, process and device structures.
“Our collaboration with A*STAR over the past five years has been instrumental in establishing Applied Materials’ presence in Singapore and building up our R&D capabilities,” said Russell Tham, Regional President, Applied Materials South East Asia. “With the entire R&D value stream from ideation to product development being carried out locally via this joint lab, the expansion will further Applied Materials’ development of new technologies and products for global markets, while remaining a key contributor to Singapore’s innovation economy.”
Dr. Raj. Thampuran, Managing Director, A*STAR, said, “Our relationship with Applied Materials transcends a new milestone with the extension of our collaboration in R&D into new areas. The progress we have made from our initial collaboration is a testament to the successful partnership A*STAR has with Applied Materials. As we look towards the future, we remain committed to advancing innovations in the semiconductor industry and being at the forefront of leading edge ideas in this rapidly evolving technological landscape.”
The Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data are driving forces in today’s market of interconnected and multi-functional electronic devices. FOWLP is considered a key technology platform for system scaling, enabling multiple chips to be integrated in a small form factor on a single package. With FOWLP capable of providing significant benefits for the mobile and wireless markets, increased investment in the sector could help propel Singapore’s standing as a global hub for semiconductor R&D. Through a successful alliance with its private sector partners across the value chain, A*STAR has contributed to Singapore’s vibrant research, innovation and enterprise ecosystem. In 2014, A*STAR and 10 other industry partners launched four Advanced Semiconductor Joint Labs to provide an integrated platform for complex microchip manufacturing R&D. These global partnerships together with the Applied Materials – A*STAR joint R&D Centre will continue to strengthen Singapore’s capabilities in semiconductor R&D and contribute to the creation of high-value jobs and competitiveness of the industry.
The Singapore Centre conducts WLP research across Applied Materials for its global customers. The Centre undertakes complex multi-disciplinary research to develop new innovations in advanced packaging including bump, TSV, 2.5D interposers and now FOWLP. Through its work at the Centre, Applied Materials has developed technology that has been successfully implemented in several of its semiconductor equipment products. In addition, the extension of the collaboration highlights the important role a successful public-private partnership plays in creating value and building up differentiated competencies for Singapore.
“Applied Materials’ leading expertise in materials engineering drives the development of highly differentiated products and solutions that make new technologies possible,” said Dr. Prabu Raja, Group Vice President and General Manager of the Patterning and Packaging Group, Applied Materials. “We are excited to expand our collaboration with A*STAR and leverage our complementary strengths to solve challenges in advanced packaging and build new capabilities for future innovations.”
A*STAR takes a long-term vision towards strategic investments in industry-ready R&D that contribute to Singapore’s economic growth. It is home to one of the premier advanced packaging and wafer-level packaging research facilities in Asia. IME’s leading research capabilities in advanced chip packaging are focused on meeting the challenging requirements in complex and sophisticated chip packaging, in order to develop slimmer devices with greater system capabilities such as ultra-low power consumption, increased memory and bandwidth, and diverse functionality.
Dr. Tan Yong Tsong, Executive Director, IME, said, “Our long standing collaboration with Applied Materials demonstrates the value of public-private partnership under open innovation, and underscores the readiness and competitiveness of IME’s research capabilities for the industry. Through this joint lab, we will continue to push the envelope through our differentiated R&D competencies to deliver breakthrough technologies.”