The team have agreed to create and operate an R&D wafer processing R&D line focused on piezoMEMS within ST's wafer fab in Ang Mo Kio in Singapore. The piezoMEMS will be made on 200mm diameter wafers in what is calling a "lab-in-fab."
The purpose of the facility is to accelerate the transition from proof-of-concept designs to volume production of piezoMEMS for applications in AR/VR, medical electronics and 3D printing, ST said.
The Lab-in-Fab is based around new cleanroom area that has been created within ST's wafer fab and will host tools and resources from the three collaborators. These resources will include scientists and engineers. IME will contribute dedicated manufacturing tools while ST will provide the space existing infrastructure within the fab to support production volumes.
The facility is set to be operational in 2Q21 with first wafers running and to hit volume production about 18 months later at the end of 2022.
"We want to build the world's leading R&D center for piezo MEMS materials, technologies, and products with IME and Ulvac, with whom we have been working for a long time. This world first will be hosted in our Singapore site, a strategic location for ST," said Benedetto Vigna, president of the Analog, MEMS and Sensors Group at STMicroelectronics, in a statement. "The Lab-in-Fab will offer our customers the capability to more easily go from a feasibility study to product development and high-volume manufacturing."
The collaboration is expected to help ST develop piezoMEMS actuators in many promising fields including: MEMS Mirrors for Smart Glasses, AR Headsets and LIDAR systems, piezoelectric micromachined ultrasonic transducers (PMUTs) for emerging medical applications, and piezoelectric actuator heads for 2D and 3D printing
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