Imec, a global research and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technologies, and Rapidus, Japan’s newly founded chip manufacturer, announced that they have taken an important next step in setting up a long-term and sustainable collaboration in the domain of advanced semiconductor research, with Rapidus joining imec’s Core Partner Program.
During a Belgian economic delegation to Japan in late 2022, imec and Rapidus had already signed a Memorandum of Collaboration (MoC). This agreement was supported by both the Government of Flanders and Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI), and affirmed the partners’ commitment to strengthening the ties between the semiconductor industries in Flanders and Japan.
“Rapidus is the cornerstone of Japan’s efforts to reclaim a leading position in the worldwide semiconductor ecosystem. Today, we are thrilled to announce that Rapidus has become an official member of imec’s Core Partner Program,” said Luc Van den hove, president and CEO of imec. “Through this partnership, we will help Rapidus research and develop the key building blocks necessary for the mass production of state-of-the-art 2-nanometer chip technology. Advanced chips like these can be used for 5G communications, quantum computing, data centers, autonomous vehicles, and digital smart cities.”
“This is yet another example of the fact that the chip industry’s strength lies in union, not division. While regions feel the need to strengthen their own strengths, real progress can only be achieved when they open up, connect their strengths, and pursue cross-border collaboration. It is a way of working that imec has held dear for almost forty years,” said Van den hove.
Imec’s Core Partner Program has existed since 2005 and offers an exclusive, close-knit research and development partnership between the world’s top foundries, IDMs, fabless and fablite companies, material suppliers, and equipment suppliers working in the field of (5-nanometer and beyond) IC process technologies. The program builds upon imec’s cutting-edge cleanroom infrastructure, which houses the most advanced semiconductor manufacturing tools. This enables imec’s partners to conduct research on technologies that are well ahead of industrial needs. Apart from Rapidus, imec’s Core Partner Program members include major industry players such as GlobalFoundries, Intel, Micron, Qualcomm, Samsung, SK Hynix, Sony Semiconductor Solutions, KIOXIA Corporation, TSMC, and Western Digital.
“Joining imec’s Core Partner Program is a significant milestone for us. It provides Rapidus with access to imec’s advanced technologies, system solutions, state-of-the-art 300 mm pilot line, and extensive partner network. International collaboration will be vital for us to attain our target of mass-producing 2-nanometer technology, and imec is a critical partner in achieving this goal. This agreement represents a decisive point in our endeavor to re-establish Japan’s position in the semiconductor industry,” said Dr. Atsuyoshi Koike, president and CEO of Rapidus.