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Tronics and Alcatel to Develop Advanced MEMS DRIE Technology

June 15, 2007

The joint project will cultivate next-generation MEMS production processes and establish new performance benchmarks for the industry.


CROLLES, France, and ANNECY, France -- Tronics Microsystems SA, a global leader in manufacturing custom MEMS components for demanding applications, and Alcatel Micro Machining Systems (AMMS), a leading manufacturer of deep reactive ion etching (DRIE) systems for MEMS and 3D semiconductors, announced a joint development project on DRIE for extreme-performance MEMS.

The collaboration will leverage the companies' complementary strengths to develop next-generation advanced DRIE process technology for high-performance MEMS and to establish a new performance benchmark for the MEMS industry. AMMS is recognized for its leadership in supplying high-speed deep-plasma-etching systems for fabricating MEMS and 3D semiconductors. Tronics has developed unique test tools and methodologies for tracking process-failure modes and has established precise statistical process control (SPC) indicators for MEMS production. Tronics also is an acknowledged leader in applying advanced DRIE on thick SOI micromachining technologies for manufacturing high-performance custom sensors and actuators for the instrumentation, life sciences, automotive, and aerospace industries.

Recognized for its industry-leading high-aspect-ratio micromachining technologies for custom inertial transducers, Tronics will use its robust test protocols to evaluate and qualify new, advanced DRIE manufacturing processes from AMMS, and will provide SPC feedback. With that data, AMMS will build on its DRIE leadership by further enhancing its process solutions for new, advanced high-aspect-ratio, high-yield, and manufacturing-proven processes. In return, Tronics will receive priority access to the company's latest process modules and quality services.

"We are constantly working to improve our process capabilities. It is a great opportunity for us to benefit from Tronics' unique manufacturing experience in high-performance, SOI-based inertial transducers and 3D packaging to qualify our future DRIE process modules with them," said Jean-Marc Gruffat, director of products at AMMS. "Our goal is to push the limits of high-aspect-ratio DRIE processes with high-accuracy controlled profile, excellent uniformity, and reproducibility in order to provide our customers best-in-class, manufacturing-proven, and high-yield DRIE production tools for next-generation MEMS and 3D semiconductors."

"With this extension of our long-running relationship with AMMS, we are committing to provide our customers with the latest process solutions for their extreme-performance products," said Dr. Stéphane Renard, Tronics' Director of Research and Advanced Technologies. "This partnership marks a major milestone in strengthening our technological and market leadership in manufacturing custom products for demanding applications."

The development project will take advantage of Tronics' productization expertise and proven track record in manufacturing and supplying custom MEMS transducers, such as MEMS geophones for the seismic oil exploration industry, miniature SMD accelerometers for cardiac-rhythm management, and more recently in developing custom MEMS gyros transducers for aerospace and automotive customers.

About Alcatel Micro Machining Systems
Alcatel Micro Machining Systems (AMMS) is a subsidiary of Alcatel Vacuum Technology France, located in Annecy, France. AMMS specializes in designing, manufacturing, marketing, and servicing deep-plasma-etching systems for the fabrication of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and 3D Semiconductors. Its main application markets are the telecommunications, automotive, aerospace, computer peripherals, biomedical industries, power devices, and wafer-level packaging. AMMS is committed to supporting its customers through an international network of sales and service offices. Four applications laboratories in France, the U.S., Taiwan, and Japan provide its customers with process development and process demonstration. At the beginning of 2007, AMMS had a worldwide ICP etching tool installation base of more than 200 sites in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. For more information, visit the company's Web site.

About Tronics Microsystems SA
Tronics Microsystems is a custom developer and manufacturer of highly differentiated, high value-add MEMS components and microsystems. Collaborating with customers from concept to implementation, Tronics provides solutions and expertise in the productization and supply chain management of smart components. The company is "the No. 1 provider of custom products based on SOI MEMS technologies." For three consecutive years, it has been ranked among the 200 fastest-growing companies by the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 EMEA survey. Tronics' recently expanded production facility includes a 150 mm-wafer MEMS manufacturing line and full product characterization, assembly, packaging, and test capabilities. The company is based in Crolles, France. For more information, visit the company's Web site.


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