Four of Japan's biggest chip makers will work together on development of manufacturing technology for next-generation semiconductors, they said Tuesday.
Fujitsu, NEC Electronics, Renesas Technology and Toshiba, said they will try to develop standardized processes for chip production that draw on the technology and intellectual property of all four partners. By developing common processes they hope to make it easy to share one another's production facilities and possibly integrate production plants in the future, they said.
The work is aimed at producing system LSI (large scale integration) chips whose smallest features measure 45 nanometers. A nanometer is a millionth of a millimeter. Chips with smaller features are typically more powerful, smaller and more energy-efficient. Most advanced chips are made today on 90nm or 65nm production lines.
System LSI chips are designed to do specific jobs and are found in a diverse range of products including computer and consumer electronics systems.
In January this year Renesas, Toshiba and Hitachi established a joint-venture called Advanced Process Semiconductor Foundry Planning to investigate the possibility of a jointly operated chip plant. The Japanese companies hope to combat increasingly competitive foreign rivals by working together to achieve cost and technology benefits.