AMD, Infineon, DuPont team on chip production

Chip makers Infineon Technologies AG and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) are creating a new company with DuPont Photomasks Inc. in a move to stay at the forefront of semiconductor development, the companies said Thursday.

The equally owned joint venture, called Advanced Mask Technology Center GmbH & Co. KG (AMTC), will develop and pilot next-generation lithographic photomasks in a new facility in Dresden, Germany, due to be completed in early 2003, the three partners said in a joint statement.

Photomasks are important in the effort by chip makers to produce ever smaller and more powerful chips for portable devices. Photomasks are quartz or glass plates containing precision images of chips, used as masters to optically transfer the images to the wafers on which the chips are manufactured.

The joint venture allows AMD and Infineon to produce smaller and better chips faster, spokesmen for AMD of Sunnyvale, California, and Infineon, in Munich, said. These chips could be used in, for example, portable computing devices.

The partnership with micro-imaging specialist DuPont Photomasks of Round Rock, Texas, also means cost savings for Infineon, which announced the closure of its own photomask facility in Munich. AMD did not have its own photomask making facility, a spokesman said.

About €360 million (US$329 million) will be invested in AMTC over the next five years. The company should begin operations in the second half of next year and will employ about 170 people, Infineon, AMD and DuPont said.

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Joris Evers

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