OSEO has just assigned an overall support package of € 9.9 million for the realization of a collaborative project called CUIVRE (French for copper). The project will last three years and will allow a simplification and shortening of the metallization steps in the microelectronics fabrication cycle, whilst at the same time improving the electrical performance.

The CUIVRE project, which is certified by the Minalogic Competitive Cluster, aims to provide the microelectronics industry with an innovative process for the deposition of copper patterns on wafers, called ECPR. This process represents a breakthrough with respect to current approaches and uses an electrochemical-based metallization technique providing a simpler way to apply copper interconnect patterns and certain types of components whilst at the same time ensuring better form factors and increased geometrical accuracy.

This innovative and environmentally-friendly technology represents a direct response to changes in the semiconductor market needs thanks to the uniformity of the deposited pattern and a reduction of the costs, the number and the complexity of the traditional wafer metallization and processing steps.

The goal of the research program is to stabilize process performance then industrialize the process by effectively integrating it into an actual fabrication process.

Claude Pinault, Director of the Industrial Strategic Innovation Program explains that "The support provided for the CUIVRE project forms part of the ISI program (Industrial Strategic Innovation), which aims to support collaborative projects containing at least two French SMEs, which must also contribute to creating or strengthening new European or World champions. This project was ideally matched with the required criteria. We are very pleased to be able to contribute to the progress of this program which we believe to be very promising."

The CUIVRE project brings together two companies – SET, world leading manufacturer of high accuracy device bonders, and Replisaurus Mastering, a start-up created to develop masters, key components for ECPR technology– CEA-Leti institute and four major industry leaders.

Replisaurus Mastering, in collaboration with CEA-Leti, will develop the master, i.e., the electrode carrying the negative of the copper patterns to be deposited. In this regard, Guido Groet, President of Replisaurus Mastering considers that "ECPR is technology with enormous benefits for all semiconductor manufacturing companies around the world. The strength of the technology lies in its technologically advanced features on the one hand and the beauty of its simplicity on the other. We are honored to have been selected by OSEO, and look forward to developing this technology further with our partners and bringing it successfully to market."

Laurent Malier, Director of CEA-Leti adds “It is of capital and strategic importance for CEA-Leti to contribute to the development and industrialization of highly generic innovative technologies. Firstly, it represents one of CEA-Leti's prime missions as well as an added value for its industrial partners. Furthermore, this will allow us to make a very precise and early estimate of their potential in our activities and the interest they represent for the development of our products."

SET – Smart Equipment Technology – is a leading player in this project and is responsible for producing the printing module, which, after an extremely accurate alignment, will bring master and wafer into contact. Gaël Schmidt, SET's President adds that "By becoming the equipment supplier for ECPR technology, SET will create opportunities to develop a new product line, based on 30 years of know-how and experience in very high accuracy alignment. Furthermore, the diversification of our product portfolio represents an excellent opportunity to target new markets."

The final phase of the "CUIVRE" project aims to integrate the printing module into a production machine, a cluster offering various functions such as the loading and cleaning of wafers and masters.

About SET

SET, Smart Equipment Technology is a world leading supplier of High Accuracy Die-to-Die, Die-to-Wafer Bonding and Nanoimprint Lithography solutions. With more than 300 Device Bonders installed worldwide, SET is globally renowned for the unsurpassed placement accuracy and the high flexibility of its Flip Chip bonders. From the KADETT semi-automated R&D Device Bonder, through the automated FC150 and FC300, SET offers a continuous process path from research to production. SET bonders cover most bonding technologies and offer the unique ability to handle and bond both fragile and small components onto substrates up to 300 mm. For more information, visit


About Replisaurus Mastering

Replisaurus has developed ElectroChemical Pattern Replication (ECPR™), a revolutionary metallization technology targeted at key growth markets in semiconductor manufacturing. ECPR offers a simple and cost effective integrated solution eliminating several traditional process steps thereby reducing complexity. ECPR is a fab-friendly, environmentally clean process which does not use solvents, developers or strippers, enables advanced designs while reducing cost. For more information please visit us at


About CEA-Leti

CEA is a French research and technology public organisation, with activities in four main areas: energy, information technologies, healthcare technologies and defence and security. Within CEA, the Laboratory for Electronics & Information Technology (CEA-Leti) works with companies in order to increase their competitiveness through technological innovation and transfers. CEA-Leti is focused on micro and nanotechnologies and their applications, from wireless devices and systems, to biology and healthcare or photonics. Nanoelectronics and microsystems (MEMS) are at the core of its activities. As a major player in MINATEC excellence centre, CEA-Leti operates 8,000-m² state-of-the-art clean rooms, on 24/7 mode, on 200mm and 300mm wafer standards. With 1,200 employees, CEA-Leti trains more than 150 Ph.D. students and hosts 200 assignees from partner companies. Strongly committed to the creation of value for the industry, CEA-Leti puts a strong emphasis on intellectual property and owns more than 1,400 patent families. In 2008, contractual income covered more than 75 percent of its budget worth 205 M€. For more information, visit

About OSEO’s Strategic Industrial Innovation Program

The Strategic Industrial Innovation Programme – or ISI, due to its French acronym – promotes the emergence of European champions. It supports innovative, ambitious, collaborative projects, which are industry-oriented and led by intermediate companies and SMEs, all advancing state-of-the-art technologies. When successful, these projects have a very promising outcome, as they aim at commercializing the innovations arising from technological breakthroughs, which would not be otherwise carried out without public funding. Funds are allocated in the form of grants and loans, ranging from 3 to 10 M€.