Multi-Project Chip (MPC) or Multi-Project Wafer (MPW) services integrate onto microelectronics wafers a number of different integrated circuit designs from various teams including designs from private firms, students and researchers from universities. Because IC fabrication costs are extremely high, it makes sense to share mask and wafer resources to produce designs in low quantities. Worldwide, several MPW services are available from government-supported institutions or from private firms including MOSIS, CMP and Europractice.
CMP is a service organization in ICs and MEMS for prototyping and low volume production. Circuits are fabricated for Universities, Research Laboratories and Industrial companies.
Advanced industrial technologies are available in CMOS, BiCMOS, SiGe BiCMOS, P-HEMT E/D GaAs, etc. CMP distributes and supports several CAD software tools for both Industrial Companies and Universities.
Since 1981 more than 4800 circuits for Research, Education and Industry have been fabricated. 850 academic centres and 150 industrial companies from 70 countries have been served.
With MOSIS, designs are submitted for fabrication using either open (i. e., non-proprietary) VLSI layout design rules or vendor proprietary rules. Designs are pooled into common lots and run through the fabrication process at foundries. The completed chips (packaged or unpackaged) are returned to customers.
From prototype to production, MOSIS is a design engineer’s single source for a wide variety of semiconductor processes offered by major foundries.
Costs are kept low by combining designs from many customers into multi-project wafer (MPW) runs. With prototype costs reduced, engineers can submit several variations of the same design to the same run, thus shortening time-to-market.
Final designs can then be submitted to MOSIS for low- medium volume production or dedicated Engineering wafer runs (COT).
Along with wafers and die, MOSIS provides a full range of packaging and bonding options for designs fabricated through our service.
Many silicon fabrication facilities offer MPW runs or a company can produce its own MPW, e.g. combine several of its own designs to form one wafer completely owned by the company. In the latter case, it may be profitable to use most of the wafer for production chips and a small portion for producing prototypes of next generation chips.
Fasmicro is now helping African institutions to setup the technologies required for Europractice. More on this later today.
EUROPRACTICE is a European Commission initiative, funded by the EU Seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7). The aim is to improve the competitiveness of European industry by the adoption of advanced electronics technologies.
EUROPRACTICE is a quality brand name for European service-type projects in the Microelectronics, Microsystems and Photonics fields. The EUROPRACTICE brand name covers a wide range of FP6 and FP7 projects.
Sources: Wikipedia, CMP, MOSIS, Europractice.