System in Package Consortium (SiP),8 Consortium for Advanced Semiconductor Materials and Related Technologies (CASMAT),9 Low Energy Electron Beam Proximity Projection Technology Consortium (LEEPL),10 VLSI Design Education Center (VDEC),11 and New Intelligence for IC Differentiation (DIIN).12 Among the consortia, VDEC at the University of Tokyo and DIIN at Tohuku University, both initiated by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology, have somewhat different founding purposes than other industry-centric consortia.

Some of the cooperative development projects of the industry-centric consortia have already been completed, including. Phase 1 and 2 of the ASET project and the HALCA project. Semiconductor technology development of Phase 1 of the ASET project was completed four years ago with the goal of “the development of photolithographic elemental technologies for 130nm-70nm and beyond and the development of basic elemental technologies of semiconductor processes.” It is now time to review the results.

In Phase 1 of the ASET project, a series of experiments called “Super Advanced Technology” were carried out as contracted research. A total of eight semiconductor-related projects were implemented as the part of the series. There were three electron beam (EB) related projects: One was the “development of high speed EB direct writing equipment.” Two were X-ray lithography-related projects, one of which was the “development of proximity X-ray lithography.” Three other projects were the “development of ArF lithography,” “plasma physics and diagnostics,” and “development of surface cleaning and simulation.”

These projects yielded impressive results, including 1,288 technical disclosures, 246 patent applications, and 101 registered patents. As an example of the content, the in “plasma physics and diagnostics” produced basic technology development in correlating process evaluation indicators such as selectivity and process distribution to equipment parameters such as process pressure and plasma electron density.

Though the results of the research were satisfactory, the projects received little appreciation. Why did Phase 1 of the ASET project, intended to be the second Ultra LSI Lab, fail to achieve a similar level of appreciation? Based on the following circumstances, we will see the expected role and behavior of consortia.


The research and development (R&D) targets of the existing consortia can be classified into three categories: investigation of individual process technology

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