TSMC subsidiary in Japan inaugurates new clean room facility

A clean room facility owned by a subsidiary of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) in Japan was inaugurated Friday, paving the way for the contract chipmaker to develop high-end integrated circuit packaging and testing services.

TSMC, the world's largest contract chipmaker, said the clean room at its Japanese subsidiary -- the TSMC Japan 3DIC R&D Center -- is located in the Tsukuba Center of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST).

In a statement released on Friday, the chipmaker said the center will continue its research efforts into the next generations of three-dimensional silicon stacking and advanced packaging technologies in materials science on the back of the presence of the new clean room.

The technologies developed by the subsidiary will enable system-level innovations to strengthen computing performance and integrate more functionality, which is expected to facilitate new ways to drive semiconductor technology forward, beyond the industry's conventional path of shrinking transistor size, TSMC said.

Following the completion of the clean room, the TSMC Japan 3DIC R&D Center will support R&D efforts in state-of-the-art 3D IC packaging materials in collaboration with the chipmaker's Japanese partners, domestic research institutes and universities that are strong in semiconductor materials and equipment, the company added.

TSMC set up its Japan 3DIC R&D Center subsidiary in March 2021 and later began construction on the clean room facility in the Tsukuba Center of AIST.

In addition to its strong capability in pure wafer foundry operations, TSMC has moved aggressively into high-end IC packaging and testing services to provide one-stop shopping services for clients who buy chips and require advanced 3D IC packaging and testing technologies.

TSMC currently operates four advanced IC packaging and testing plants in Taoyuan and Hsinchu in northern Taiwan, Taichung in central Taiwan and Tainan in the south.

The company is building a fifth IC packaging and testing plant in Zhunan, Miaoli County, with phase one scheduled to start commercial production later this year.

In the statement, TSMC CEO C.C. Wei (???) said he is upbeat about cooperation between professionals in Taiwan and Japan and such efforts will "empower each other to make breakthroughs together."

Yutaka Emoto, vice president and general manager of the TSMC Japan 3DIC R&D Center, said in the statement that with an increase in structural demand driven by the mega-trend of 5G and high performance computing-related applications, further technology innovations are necessary to meet such demand.

Also in Japan, the construction of a wafer fab to be run by Japan Advanced Semiconductor Manufacturing, Inc. (JASM), a joint venture with TSMC, began in April, with shipments from the plant scheduled to start in December 2024.

In November 2021, TSMC announced it would spend up to US$2.12 billion in equity investment on the wafer fab in Japan, establishing TSMC-majority-owned JASM in Japan to provide foundry services, with Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corp. taking a stake of up to 20 percent in the new company.

In February, Japan's Denso Corp. said it would take a stake of more than 10 percent in the TSMC joint venture.

The move by TSMC to set up JASM was intended to reinforce ties and cooperation with Sony, one of the Taiwanese chipmaker's most important clients, as the Japanese company is a leading global supplier of CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) image sensors, or CIS used in automotive electronics, according to market analysts.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel