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  1. Technology
July 19, 1998


By CBR Staff Writer

Motorola Inc confirmed Friday that it was due to announce a strategic alliance with Advanced Micro Devices Inc over copper chip technology. The cross licensing and co-development pact, it said, would impact both the embedded and desktop microprocessor markets, with AMD expected to give Motorola access to its embedded flash memory technology in return. Hector Ruiz, president of Motorola’s semiconductor division and Jerry Sanders, chairman and chief executive of AMD, plan to reveal the details of the collaboration today, Monday, at AMD’s Sunnyvale, California-based headquarters. It is expected to involve cross- licensing and co-development, with AMD expected to give Motorola access. The use of copper over aluminum leads to faster circuit speeds, better reliability and cheaper manufacturing, according to Motorola, which revealed last September that it had been working on copper process technology since 1995 (CI No 3,259). Although IBM Corp’s efforts in the same area have attracted the most attention, Motorola says it has successfully tested its first silicon wafers using copper, and plans to begin production later this year of copper-enabled PowerPC chips. In June it announced a high performance CMOS SRAM process using enhanced contacts and copper metallization with a transistor feature size of 0.15 microns. Fully functional, high performance 4Mb static RAM chips have been produced using the process it says, and the first SRAMs using copper should appear in the fourth quarter of this year. AMD has also been working on research into copper, and says it has successfully fabricated two test chips with copper interconnects. AMD set up a chip manufacturing deal with IBM back in March (CI No 3,358), but said at the time that the agreement did not cover IBM’s next generation CMOS copper technology. Instead, its own fabrication plant currently under construction in Dresden, Germany, is being set up to produce copper chips, though not before next year. Earlier this month, AMD announced that it would take Applied Materials Inc’s Ion Metal Plasma technology for the development of its copper-based interconnects.

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