TPSCo’s Advanced Processes and Strengths Have Significantly Boosted Business

Guy Eristoff, TPSCo CEO

Since the founding of TowerJazz Panasonic Semiconductor Co., Ltd. TPSCo in April of 2014, we have achieved several significant successes. In December, mass production started at our Tonami, Japan fab for Fairchild Semiconductor; a process transfer of multiple high performance discrete devices for the industrial and consumer markets.

We are very excited to become a first tier supplier for Fairchild, and we look forward to enhancing our relationship with Fairchild by providing them with the benefit of both specialty TowerJazz and TPSCo technologies and capabilities. We were able to pull in mass production start to just eight months from project inception due to the significant efforts and collaboration between TPSCo and Fairchild.

TPSCo technology development teams are currently engaged with 13 separate third party customers working on 21 active projects. Several of these projects are targeted to enter volume production in the first half of 2015, and include embedded NVM, CIS and high voltage power devices.

In addition, we have over 100 qualified consumer and high reliability process flows developed by Panasonic that are available for our foundry customers.

There is strong interest in several of the advanced IDM process technologies already qualified in the Hokuriku, Japan fabs that are available to our customers.

TPSCo is focused on providing semiconductor process technology solutions in three defined areas:

  • Automotive and high reliability processes
  • High-end image sensors (both CIS and CCD)
  • Mobile communications peripheral processes for the Internet of Things (IoT)

With 35 years of experience in automotive part manufacturing and many high reliability IDM flows from 0.3um to 65nm that are now available to our customers, this is an area of focus and differentiation for TPSCo. We are enhancing this position with the transfer to TS18 PM with Y-flash for multiple customers including a major Japanese tier 1 automotive customer. In early January, we produced extremely good electrical results on first silicon in less than four months from project transfer inception. TPSCo is also enhancing our 65nm RFCMOS process in order to be suitable to run 77GHz mm wave technology for collision avoidance systems.

Regarding imaging, TPSCo is widely recognized as one of the top two or three image sensor manufacturing providers worldwide. Our 65nm 1.12um pixel process has best in world 74% green quantum efficiency and the lowest dark current of 6.5 electrons per second at 65 degrees Centigrade.

In the first week of January, we started first silicon on 65nm RFSOI for a mobile communications front-end module (FEM) switch.

This lot contains both conventional and trap-rich SOI running on a modified TPSCo 65nm RFCMOS process flow.

The initial test chip mask set designs were made in close conjunction with TowerJazz R&D in Newport Beach, CA and included customer RF switch circuits for evaluation. Initial results are expected in mid-March.

One of TPSCo’s strengths is our application of automated advanced process control (APC) virtual metrology technology. TPSCo engineers have developed some of the most advanced process control schemes for critical processing steps and stages that are employed for high reliability and automotive integrated circuit manufacturing. In December 2014, a paper submitted by TPSCo engineers was awarded, “#1 Best Paper” at the International Symposium on Semiconductor Manufacturing 2014 (ISSM2014).

In addition to the 21 third-party foundry projects from 13 separate customers based in Asia, the U.S. and Europe, TPSCo has active engagements with another 12 customers on 15 potential projects.

In December, TPSCo co-hosted TowerJazz Global Symposium (TGS) Japan with TowerJazz in Tokyo. Our foundry strategy and technologies appealed to the attending Japanese customers and prospects. There were more than 100 participants from 70 companies. We are working very diligently to solidify our position as a recognized international specialty foundry, and look forward to growing our customer base in support of the TowerJazz Group of Specialty Foundries.