This would take the factory from 15,000 wafers per year on a mix of 6-inch and 200mm diameter wafers to 30,000 wafers per year, according to a spokesperson. These numbers relate to a typical process flow comprising seven mask steps and the investment is expected in 2017.
While it is widely supposed that Philips exited the manufacturing of semiconductors when it spun off NXP Semiconductors NV in 2010, one thing that it did not pass on was an R&D wafer fab in Eindhoven, The Netherlands
That wafer fab has subsequently been used to provide a mix of MEMS and micro-assembly services internally and increasingly externally. Approximately 140 people are employed in the 2,650 square meter cleanroom with about 70 people working on MEMS and 70 on micro-assembly. The team can provide assistance with MEMS process development as well as MEMS manufacturing and the production of prototypes.
Philips' MEMS foundry is able to work with materials ranging from Ag to Zn, including CMOS-forbidden materials, alloys, dielectrics and polymers such as Parylene, and can lay these down on a variety of substrates including silicon, compound semiconductors, glass, both square and round and up to 200mm in diameter.
The foundry can produce a variety of types of MEMS devices but has enjoyed some success producing microfluidic devices for applications in printing and medical electronics. Clients include Océ Technolgies BV and Philips Home Clinical Monitoring.
The group also offers various wafer bonding techniques, including a proprietary adhesive bonding technology, MEMS-last CMOS wafer integration and back-end processes like micro-assembly and testing of MEMS devices.
The spokesperson added: "Our capacity is sufficient for many applications. Should customers want to work with us for process development and pilot production only, we are willing and able to do process transfer to third parties. We have experience with some large volume foundries that could be used for process transfer."