LEUVEN, Belgium The IMEC research group based here announced plans to expand its physical footprint and technology scope on several fronts. The news was announced at an annual conference at the Imec headquarters here where the research group's president shared his thoughts on CMOS scaling and open innovation.
IMEC will expand its 300-mm wafer clean room where it will install later this year the ASML NXE 3100 EUV lithography system believed to be key to making chips at design pitches of 22-nm and smaller. The new site will also do research on 450-mm wafers. Separately Imec is building a new headquarters building that will also add lab space in areas such as biotechnology.
The new fab was built during the recession of 2009, the only new fab created anywhere in the world during that period, said IMEC president Luc Van den hove in a dedication ceremony here.
"You create an atmosphere of doing great things in this city," said Leuven mayor Louis Tobback in a speech at the dedication. Emerging countries "still believe in progress but we [in the West] don't anymore and that leads to the worst kind of conservatism," he said.
On the technology front, Imec has struck a partnership with Intel Corp. to start a new lab dedicated to exascale-class supercomputers. It has also started new programs in areas as diverse as battery research and vision systems and is ramping up a MEMS foundry in a 200-mm fab.
IMEC's work on EUV lithography has put the Belgium group at the center of semiconductor process development. It is leveraging that position to reach out to a widening group of silicon and systems designers for collaborative research efforts in areas such as energy and health care.
"We see a real need to reconnect system and process engineers and link these communities much closer again" as process technology becomes more complex, said Van den hove in a presentation here. "We believe we are well positioned to do it, and we are trying to offer a value proposition to all of the key players [in electronics] from EDA to system design," he said.
In a short video interview Van den hove shared his thoughts on CMOS scaling, open innovation and China.