The latest news from academia, regulators
research labs and other things of interest
Posted: Aug 11, 2011
Nanoelectronics research institute Imec to receive 2011 IEEE Corporate Innovation Recognition
(Nanowerk News) Imec, a research institute that has continually been at the forefront of advances in semiconductor technology and has always served as proving ground for advancements in microelectronics with close collaboration with the global industry, is being honored by IEEE with the 2011 IEEE Corporate Innovation Recognition. IEEE is the world's largest technical professional association.
The award, sponsored by IEEE, recognizes imec for continuous contributions to the standard integrated circuit technology complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) and for innovations in global business development and university-industry collaborations. The award will be presented on 20 August 2011 at the IEEE Honors Ceremony in San Francisco, Calif.
Founded in 1984 in Leuven, Belgium, imec has tackled the roadblocks to continued scaling of transistor size with innovations in CMOS integrated circuit development. Providing high noise immunity and low power consumption, the CMOS process is used to construct integrated circuits and has been responsible for increased computing power, size reduction of computing systems and the emergence of embedded systems. The solutions provided by imec and its partners have ultimately resulted in consumer electronics that are more powerful and less expensive.
A key component of imec's success is its distinctive model of collaboration with industrial partners through strategic industrial affiliation programs. This allows industry to share talent and intellectual property (IP) and to reduce risk through co-investment and ultimately accelerate research using imec's pilot lines. Imec has also an extensive library of IP know-how that can be transferred or tuned to the needs of company. Also, over 30 spin-off companies have been created to bring imec innovations to market for computer, biomedical, healthcare and energy applications.
Imec has consistently provided advanced process development years ahead of current market technology for eventual transfer to commercial production. In 2004, imec created a sub-32-nm research platform for 300-mm silicon wafers built around state-of-the-art equipment. Together with world-leading semiconductor manufacturers, foundries, equipment and material suppliers, this research resulted in world-record SRAM cells. Today, imec continues to innovate, moving below the 22-nm dimension and towards 450mm wafers for further improvements in integrated circuit performance and exploring three-dimensional silicon technologies.
In 1995, imec extended the performance of core CMOS by integrating bipolar transistors on the digital platform to create a 0.5-micrometer BiCMOS process. This was later scaled to 0.18 micrometers in 2003 by incorporating silicon germanium and silicon germanium carbide. Based on its silicon process technology expertise, imec is now working on the base technology needed to improve power electronics, using gallium nitride (GaN) as its material of choice. GaN-on-Si enables cost-effective high-voltage, high-power, and high-temperature electronic circuits. Imec also applies its semiconductor process technology expertise to develop innovative silicon solar cells with higher efficiency and lower cost.
Imec also spurs development of wireless communication systems. Further research in this area led to imec becoming leading player in reconfigurable radio solutions in deep-submicron CMOS with focus on low power consumption.
Imec's research on integrated CMOS and microelectromechanical systems technologies integrated on top of CMOS has led to a heterogeneous integration platform, offering companies development-on-demand, prototyping and small volume production of innovative products combining various state-of-the-art technologies.
In 2002, imec launched the HUMAN++ research program to develop solutions for an efficient and better healthcare. This research already resulted in intelligent body area networks with wireless sensors, such as EEG or ECG, which allow ambulatory monitoring of people. Such systems increase the comfort level of patients and are a cost- and time-efficient alternative for current monitoring systems.
With headquarters in Leuven, Belgium, imec performs world-leading research in nanoelectronics, leveraging its scientific knowledge with the innovative power of its global partnerships in information and communication technologies, healthcare and energy. Imec has offices in Belgium, the Netherlands, Taiwan, the United States, China, India and Japan. Its staff of about 1,900 people includes over 500 industrial residents and guest researchers. Dr. Luc Van den hove is imec's current president and chief executive officer.