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TSMC Japan 3D IC R&D Center officially launched

June 29, 2022


According to the Taiwanese foundry, an opening ceremony was held recently at TSMC Japan's 3DIC R&D Center, marking the completion of clean room construction at the facility.

TSMC's R&D center in Japan, located at the Tsukuba Center of the Advanced Institute of Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), is intensifying research into 3D silicon stacking and advanced packaging technologies in next-generation materials science.

TSMC's 3DIC R&D Center in Japan was completed in March 2021, supporting the development of 3D IC packaging materials in cooperation with Japanese partners, domestic research institutions and universities with advantages in semiconductor materials and equipment.

"There are many companies in Japan with functional materials and key technologies that are important in the global semiconductor supply chain, and TSMC will continue to work on semiconductor process innovation through joint R&D with them," said Yutaka Emoto, vice president and center general manager. TSMC Japan's 3DIC R&D Center said in a statement. "At the same time, we can build a bridge between our 3DIC R&D center partners and world-class semiconductor companies among TSMC's customers."

Wei Zhejia, President of TSMC, said that TSMC was founded with a professional integrated circuit manufacturing service business model. It is in the semiconductor field and firmly believes that by focusing on what it is best at, TSMC can make the greatest contribution to promoting technological progress. Japan's 3D IC R&D Center is exactly that. The perfect embodiment of this cooperative model.

Wei Zhejia said that the cooperation between TSMC and Japanese industrial talents will be able to empower each other and achieve breakthroughs together.

Liao Dedui, deputy general manager of TSMC's advanced packaging technology and services, said that today a single chip contains about tens of billions of transistors. With advanced packaging technology and three-dimensional integrated circuit technology, TSMC can package hundreds of billions of transistors, providing new computing power.

Liao Dedui said that TSMC will work with partners at Japan's 3D IC R&D Center to jointly develop technologies that will help bring innovation into practice.

Emoto Yu, director of TSMC's Japan 3D IC R&D Center, said that the industry trend from 5G and high-performance computing-related applications drives the structural demand for semiconductors, and further technological innovation is needed to meet this demand.


Officially launched

 On June 24, Japan's Minister of Economy and Industry Koichi Hagi Ikuta and TSMC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Wei Zhejia held talks at the Tsukuba Center of the Japan Institute of Industrial Technology (Tsukuba City, Ibaraki Prefecture). "We welcome TSMC's diverse business in Japan, from semiconductor design to production," Hagiyuta said. The two exchanged views on the ideal state of cooperation around next-generation semiconductors.

3D IC R&D Center

In February 2021, TSMC plans to spend about US$178 million to open a materials research subsidiary in Japan, aiming to strengthen the exploration of 3DIC (3D chip) materials with Japanese ecosystem partners. TSMC's move is expected to widen the technological gap with rival South Korea's Samsung Electronics.

TSMC said in a board statement that the board of directors has approved the establishment of a wholly-owned subsidiary in Japan to expand research on three-dimensional integrated circuit (3DIC) materials with a paid-up capital of no more than 18.6 billion yen ($178 million).

According to previous media reports, TSMC will set up a research and development facility in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, northeast of Tokyo. The investment is expected to be completed this year, but TSMC has not yet announced details such as the size of the proposed subsidiary.

Regarding TSMC's establishment of a material R&D center in Japan, some experts have analyzed that the importance of 3D chips is increasing day by day, especially materials closely related to heat dissipation. Materials are the strengths of Japanese industry and academia. TSMC's advanced manufacturing process combines the strength of Japanese materials to It will help TSMC widen the technological gap with rival Samsung and play a leading role in the field of semiconductor manufacturing.

The company also said its board of directors has approved approximately $11.79 billion in capital for plant construction, installation and upgrades of advanced technology capacity, as well as "R&D capital investment and recurring capital budget for the second quarter of 2021."

3D IC is considered to be the trend of next-generation chip manufacturing technology, and countries all over the world are stepping up the research and development process. In August 2020, Samsung Electronics announced the successful development of its 3D IC packaging test chip, but the chip developed by Samsung did not rely on the power of one company. There are many Japanese material manufacturers behind it, such as JSR, Nippon Chemical medicine, etc.

There are still many materials used in 3D IC. The research and development of this material cannot be done without the support of strong basic industries, which TSMC does not have; and the products that have been developed are used in practical applications. It also needs to be fine-tuned at times, which is also not available in Japanese manufacturers.

Therefore, it is only natural that TSMC chooses to set up a research and development institution in Japan, whether in terms of materials or competition.