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5 min

The five highlights of summer 2018

Life is busy! So you might not always have the time to keep up with imec's latest news and achievements. On this page, you can find a quick overview of what imec has been doing in the past month.

Niels Verellen awarded ERC Starting Grant to develop ultra-small microscopes 

Niels Verellen, one of imec’s young scientists, will use the ERC Starting Grant of 1.5 million euros to enable high-resolution, fast, robust, zero-maintenance, inexpensive, and ultra-compact microscopy technology. The new microscopy devices will induce a profound change in the way cell biologists do research, in the way DNA sequencing becomes more and more accessible, in the way certain diseases can be diagnosed, new drugs are screened in the pharma industry, and healthcare workers can diagnose patients in remote areas. The technology will be based on a novel imaging platform that integrates active on-chip photonics and CMOS image sensors.

The European Research Council (ERC) is a pan European funding body, aiming to support the best and most creative scientists to identify and explore new opportunities and directions in any field of research. Read the full press release here.

Imec.istart: new open call for tech start-ups

Looking for support for your tech start-up? Discover how imec.istart can help you! A new call for ideas started on September 1st, you can submit your application until October 1st. Register for one of our info sessions on September 6 in Kortrijk or Brussels to learn more about this program.  

Imec.istart is imec’s business accelerator that boosts digital innovation and entrepreneurship by supporting start-ups during their early development phase. The imec.istart program offers an initial financial injection (50,000 EUR pre-seed funding), professional coaching and mentoring, access to technology and working facilities, and access to a broad network of partners and investors. More information on the website.

Breakthrough in extending interconnects beyond the 3nm technology node

The use of dual-damascene Cu as a process flow for back-end-of-line interconnect fabrication has become questionable beyond the 5nm technology node. To maintain the scaling paths, imec has therefore been pioneering and pipelining the potential replacement of this conventional Cu technology. Interconnects based on ruthenium (Ru) are a promising candidate.

Imec has demonstrated the potential of using Ru for 3nm and beyond technology nodes. High-aspect ratio Ru lines were shown to outperform conventional Cu metallization in two different implementation scenarios, i.e., (1) in buried power rail applications, and (2) as sub-5nm interconnects for advanced memory and logic applications by using subtractive metal etch. Read the press release for more information.

Curious about your future shopping experience? Learn about the LUNAR project.

Recently, the imec.icon project LUNAR was successfully concluded. Focus of the project was on the optimization of the customers’ retail shopping experience. As a first result, an ultra-wideband (UWB) based localization technology has been developed that is scalable, accurate and reliable in a real-life environment. By installing UWB chips in every shopping cart, and UWB stations on the ceiling, every customer in the store can be localized. Secondly, the LUNAR consortium also conducted user research by means of questionnaires, observation sessions and workshops, and defined useful services for a better shopping experience. Watch the video!

The imec.icon research program is imec’s successful formula for demand-driven, cooperative research. The second call of 2018 is now open. Discover here how imec.icon can help you kick-start your project!

Imec celebrates 10 years of Digimeter

During the last 10 years, we have witnessed a significant change in the way we possess and make use of media and ICT. Traditional media have been pushed aside by various social media platforms, that have become competitors to each other. Facebook is still the most popular social media channel (71%), followed by YouTube (54%) and Instagram (30%). But these relationships are changing – largely depending on the age of the users. For example, for our young users (aged 15-19 years), YouTube has now become the number one social media channel.

Since 2009, on a yearly basis, imec Digimeter has monitored Flemish inhabitants on their usage of (new) media and ICT. For the tenth year in a row, imec will now update its ‘digital barometer’ and has therefore launched a new survey. The launch of the new Digimeter coincides with the start of ‘Maakdatmee’ – a new and broader initiative of imec to get citizens more involved in innovation. The results of the Digimeter surveys may be valuable to the developers of innovative products, as Digimeter can help predicting how users will react. And, the community of Maakdatmee can give feedback on the new products through user tests and questionnaires. 

Read the press release (in Dutch only) or check the imec Digimeter website for more information.

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