GlobalFoundries, Samsung and TSMC join Imec’s SSTS Programme

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Imec, the research and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technologies, has announced that GlobalFoundries, Samsung Electronics, and TSMC have joined its Sustainable Semiconductor Technologies & Systems (SSTS) research programme.

Launched in 2021, the SSTS programme brings various stakeholders together from across the semiconductor industry – including systems companies, (equipment) suppliers, and now also three of the world’s leading semiconductor foundries – to help reduce the ecological impact of the IC value chain.

In response to mounting concerns about climate change, tech companies around the world are looking to deliver complete carbon neutrality for their supply chains and products. Studies have found, for instance, that almost 75 percent of mobile devices’ CO2 emissions can be traced back to the underlying manufacturing process – with chip production being responsible for nearly half of that footprint. Against this backdrop, the SSTS programme provides detailed information on the environmental impact of choices made during semiconductor technology's definition phase.

Luc Van den hove, CEO of imec, said, “SSTS’ success hinges on the active involvement of players from across the IC value chain. Hence, I am delighted to announce that GlobalFoundries, Samsung Electronics, and TSMC, have now entered the programme as well as our new core program partner Rapidus – following the earlier enrolment of systems companies such as Amazon, Apple, Meta and Microsoft, as well as equipment suppliers including Applied Materials, ASML, Edwards, Kurita, SCREEN and Tokyo Electron. Having secured the buy-in from foundries across the globe marks an important milestone in effectively bringing together the entire semiconductor ecosystem.”

“By benchmarking our models at GlobalFoundries, Samsung Electronics, and TSMC, we will be able to further refine and optimise the imec.netzero tool, the web application that is at SSTS’s very heart and that allows us to assess energy consumption, water/mineral usage, and greenhouse gas emissions associated with the various aspects of chip making.

“In the longer term, the partner programme will also develop recommendations on how to improve the ecological footprint of chips by suggesting novel processes and technology optimisations,” added Lars-Åke Ragnarsson, the programme director of SSTS.

“As part of GF’s longstanding commitment to environmentally responsible manufacturing and operations, we are constantly looking for new ways to minimise our impact on the environment. This includes enhancing manufacturing emission controls, further improving energy efficiency, sourcing renewable and lower-carbon energy, and engaging through key partnerships including imec’s SSTS programme," said Stacey Barrick, head of global ESG at GF. “As the first semiconductor manufacturer to join the SSTS, we look forward to partnering with imec and others in the semiconductor ecosystem and helping develop innovative technologies that drive change across the entire supply chain in a holistic, meaningful way.”