European 2nm project includes no chip companies

February 04, 2021 // By Peter Clarke
European 2nm project includes no chip companies
The European Union and national governments are funding a project to pave the way for "world leadership in 2nm semiconductor technology," but no chip manufacturing companies are participating, unless you count research institute IMEC.

IC Technology for the 2nm Node, otherwise known as IT2, has a budget of €91,638,509.26 (about US$110 million) and the European Commission will contribute €20,831,386.99 (about US$25 million) – and yes they apparently measure things down to the cent of a euro. The project was established through the ECSEL [Electronic Components and Systems for European Leadership] joint undertaking, which means that additional funding is also expected to be provided by national governments.

Reference to the project can be found in ECSEL's 2019 annual activity report. Information is also available via the European Commission's Cordis site.

The project nominally began on June 1, 2020 and runs until May 31, 2023 bringing it roughly in line with the joint declaration signed by the leading nations of Europe committing to invest in the production of processors and semiconductors (see Europe will try to rebuild semiconductor capability using pandemic recovery funds). That initiative, announced in December 2020, has the aim of designing and manufacturing trusted, low-power processors in Europe and the declaration document specifically mentioned the goal of using a 2nm process node in 2025.

As yet, the project does not seem to have its own website providing information on its work-plan or time-table of deliverables.

What we do know is that the IT2 project is led by the world's leading lithography equipment company, ASML Holding NV (Veldhoven, The Netherlands), which will get €3 million (about US$3.6 million) of EU tax payers' support, although research institute IMEC (Leuven, Belgium) will be the biggest beneficiary. It is earmarked to receive €5,511,240.44 (about US$6.6 million).

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