Malaga will have an advanced chip factory

The Government of Spain, through the Ministry for Digital Transformation and Public Service; The Junta de Andalucía and IMEC, a world leader in research and development of nanoelectronics and digital technologies, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) this Wednesday in Leuven (Belgium) by which they ratify their intention to establish a pilot line of specialized technologies for the manufacturing of advanced chips in Malaga.

This new innovation facility will complement the one IMEC has in Leuven, focused on the line of research in silicon (around complementary metal oxide semiconductor technology, CMOS).

The new facility in Malaga will have the objective of developing new prototyping processes for 300 millimeter chips in new materials, alternatives to silicon, which are currently complicated to combine with CMOS processes, the ministry reported in a statement.

This new fab aims to “respond to the new needs for research and development of new prototypes to be at the forefront of the technological processes that will be developed during the next decade, in fields such as medicine, photonics, quantum technologies or augmented reality”.

In this way, this new installation of 300 millimeter wafers will allow the discovery of new chips and new applications in fields such as health, biology, photonics, augmented and virtual reality or precision engineering.

Complementing the existing infrastructure and expertise at the Leuven plant with these non-standardized processes that are currently incompatible with semiconductor production, means that the two centers in Leuven and Malaga work in a coordinated manner.

Now, a new phase begins with the aim of establishing a “robust” model of public-private collaboration between IMEC, the Government of Spain and the Government of Andalusia. “The two governments have already agreed on the financing of the construction of the new facility, including infrastructure and equipment,” the ministry said.

“They have also formulated the intention to finance the center in a sustainable way, in the medium and long term, to drive the benefits of the growing semiconductor ecosystem,” they noted. IMEC will manage the operations of the fab, providing the necessary know-how and technology, and ensuring access to its global network of academic and industrial partners.

The MoU underlines the intention of the parties to collaborate on a pan-European scale to boost Spain's semiconductor ecosystem “leveraging local strengths, the existing advantages in cross-border expertise and the capabilities to address the challenges of global society in addition to strengthening the regional economy”.

With the establishment of this new center, closely connected to the one IMEC has in Leuven for the development of 300 millimeter semiconductors, the objective is to take advantage of the existing innovation capacity in Spain and Andalusia. “Other details of this operation, such as contracting forecasts, cannot be confirmed until the negotiation process is concluded,” the ministry indicated in the statement.