/Material scarcity and sustainable semiconductors

Material scarcity and sustainable semiconductors

Leuven | More than two weeks ago

Robust technologies for a greener future

Sustainability is one of the key challenges of our society and it is therefore important to control and reduce the ecological impact of the technologies under development. The evolution of semiconductor technologies has however been driven for several decades by other factors: increase of performance, reduction of the consumed power, area and cost. The exponential deployment of electronics in almost all application domains has also been enabled by the introduction of various materials along with Silicon. The deployment of mmWave 5G and 6G radio systems rely for instance on compound semiconductors, which offer very high-power efficiency at mmWave frequencies. Other applications in photonics and power electronics are also using III-V compounds, such as Ga or In. The ecological impact of these critical materials in present and future development of semiconductors needs to be quantified precisely and minimized.  

While life cycle assessment (LCA) methods are beginning to be applied in the semiconductor field to quantify the environmental impact, little is being done today towards to eliminate critical materials from the semiconductor manufacturing process.  Reducing the amount of critical material in semiconductor manufacturing would not only benefit environment, but also make the supply chain more robust. 

In this thesis, you will explore the feasibility of transistors made with a reduced quantity of critical materials.  From literature review and LCA tools, you will determine the criticality of materials used in semiconductors. You will use TCAD simulators to evaluate the electrical performance of such transistors with reduced critical materials. 

Type of project: Combination of internship and thesis, Thesis

Duration: 6months

Required degree: Master of Engineering Science, Master of Science

Required background: Nanoscience & Nanotechnology, Electrotechnics/Electrical Engineering

Supervising scientist(s): For further information or for application, please contact: Benjamin Vanhouche (Benjamin.Vanhouche@imec.be)

Only for self-supporting students.

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