ERSO of ITRI and TSMC Joint Forces to Develop MRAM Technology

HSIN-CHU, Taiwan, March 20, 2002 – The Electronics Research and Service Organization (ERSO) of the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd. (TSMC) (NYSE: TSM) today announced that the two parties have signed an official agreement of a joint R&D project on Magnetoresistive Random Access Memory (MRAM) technology.

This project will leverage TSMC’s strengths in front-end process technologies and ERSO’s strengths in back-end process technologies. The collaboration will not only enable the immediate development of the next-generation nanometer electronics process technologies, but also maintain the current technological advantages enjoyed by the semiconductor industry in our country.

MRAM is made of highly sensitive magnetoresistive materials. It is an innovative non-volatile memory featuring such advantages as high access speed, high density, extensive life span, low power consumption and radiation resistance. MRAM integrates the strengths of DRAM, SRAM and flash all in itself. In addition, it can also be incorporated in the current CMOS process. The International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) has identified MRAM the latest next-generation memory product. Recently, a number of international companies have released their R&D result as well as volume commercial applications of MRAM. These commercial products, including applications in aerospace technology, portable medical electronic devices and advanced mobile digital and web products, and could command a tremendous market potential in the future.

“The search of faster and smaller devices with lower power consumption has always been the common goal in IC development worldwide. As IC technologies continue to advance, researchers have now come face to face with such challenges as the search for new materials, the search for new structure and the limitation of IC miniaturization in new process technologies. Hence, from the perspective of global IC development trends, the development of nanometer electronic technology by means of a national nanometer technology R&D project has become an urgent task in order to ensure Taiwan’s competitiveness,” said Dr. Jyuo-Min Shyu, Director of ERSO. “Spintronics device is one of the key nanometer electronic technologies. Among all spintronic devices, MRAM is the application technology most likely to be realized in the short term. Thus, ERSO is committed to the R&D of core MRAM technologies, including spintronic device design, the deposition and etch of magnetic thin film, and the integration of spintronic device and CMOS process. Through the collaboration with TSMC, ERSO will leverage TSMC’s magnetic circuit design and product certification to establish the key process technologies for high density MRAM. This joint R&D project between ERSO and TSMC is expected to speed up the pace of building independent core MRAM technologies in Taiwan,” Dr. Shyu continued.

“TSMC has devoted itself to making technological advances. Through its continued efforts in R&D, the Company is expected to provide the most advanced and comprehensive foundry services to its customers and thus increase the competitiveness of both its customers and itself,” said Dr. Calvin Chenming Hu, Chief Technology Officer at TSMC. “Among which, MRAM is one of TSMC’s next-generation IC process technology developments. By sharing TSMC existing R&D know-how and combining the strengths and resources of both ERSO and TSMC, it is expected to push Taiwan to the ranks of global pioneers in MRAM R&D, as well as expand TSMC’s technology spectrum,” Dr. Hu indicated.

About ITRI

The Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) is a national-level, government-sponsored non-profit organization for applied research which accelerates industrial technology development, promotes indus