Semiconductor technology & processingimec.academyGeneral

Preface December 2019

Every month, our CEO looks back on events in his (professional) life and introduces some of the topics covered in imec magazine. This month he talks about imec's presence at IEDM and about a new initiative to boost training and - as a result - the number of experts that will form the chip industry.

"At the annual summit of the chip industry, IEDM, imec presents 6 invited and 24 technical papers.”

At the moment I'm in San Francisco for the annual summit of the chip industry: IEDM. This conference, called 'International Electron Devices Meeting' in full, is attended by managers, engineers, and scientists from industry, universities and government from all over the world. They show the main breakthroughs that have been made in the past year in the field of chip technology, design, manufacturing, modelling, etc. It is also the place where the term 'Moore's Law' originated. Gordon Moore presented his predictions to the public and soon after, everyone who had been there began to refer to it as Moore's Law. A concept that still shapes the chip industry today.

Imec has 6 invited papers and 24 technical papers at IEDM and is co-chair of 2 sessions.

Among other things, we show promising results about the 'forksheet' transistor, a possible alternative architecture to make sub-3nm transistors.

We also show work on transistors with so-called 2D nanomaterials. These materials seem to be the perfect candidates for the further scaling of transistors, both for high-performance logic and for memory applications. Through this link you get a nice overview of these and other results that we show on IEDM.

The chip industry is evolving rapidly, as you can see on IEDM, but also on the shop floor. Finding the right (technical) profile for researchers or technicians is not easy, and even if you have employees on board, it is essential to have them follow continuous training. Only in this way can the chip industry continue to evolve at the same pace and with the same innovative power.

That is why I am very enthusiastic about a new initiative that was launched this month: SEMI, together with 19 partners, will strengthen the cooperation between the chip industry and training centres.

The project is named METIS - Microelectronics Training, Industry and Skills - and will focus on the skills and training needed to stimulate innovations in the field of artificial intelligence, autonomous driving and industry 4.0. It goes without saying that imec is participating in this project, more specifically our imec academy. They will work on a joint strategy to stimulate the development of semiconductor skills and will help develop training curricula.

In this magazine you can read more about one of our most important IEDM results, the forksheet transistor. You will also learn more about how to integrate solar cells in bike paths, sound barriers and motorways; about the importance of an open data architecture for smart cities; about our unique collaboration with u-blox and about new results regarding silicon photonics that are important for the next generation of data centres.

Enjoy reading!

Luc Van den hove,

President and CEO imec

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