BASF is working with IBM on the chemicals and materials needed for the next-generation 32-nanometre microprocessors.
Under a joint agreement, BASF and IBM will develop chemical solutions required for the manufacture of the integrated circuits (ICs) needed to develop high-performance, energy-efficient chips. Chips produced by the two companies are intended for use in North America, Asia and Europe and should be in existence by 2010.
IBM is playing catch-up in the market. It currently plans to introduce 45-nanometre (nm) microprocessors in 2008. However, a statement from BASF suggests that the first 45nm chips from IBM will actually be out in 2007, with the first 32nm chips "expected to be commercialised by major companies in the semiconductor industry... as early as 2010".
Intel says it plans to unveil 45nm microprocessors later this year, and its first 32nm chips in 2009.
"Chemistry will increasingly play an important role in the development of the next-generation [32 nm] IC products," said Ronald Goldblatt, senior manager at IBM Research. "BASF will provide an extensive and interdisciplinary background that only a major chemical company can offer, and long years of experience in the field of semiconductor-related chemical solutions."