SEMICON West 2009, SAN FRANCISCO, USA: Semiconductor Research Corp. (SRC), the world’s leading university-research consortium for semiconductors and related technologies, teamed with the National Science Foundation (NSF) to announce funding of $2 million in new supplemental grants for nanoelectronics research.
Researchers at six major NSF centers inside leading US universities will contribute to the goal of finding a replacement for the transistor -– the foundational building block of computing technology for decades -– and discovering a new digital switching mechanism using nanoelectronics innovation.
During his presentation at Semicon West, Dr. Jeff Welser, director, Nanoelectronics Research Initiative (NRI) for SRC, will express the importance of this research to the semiconductor industry, national competitiveness and the world.
“There is no question semiconductor technology has played a critical role in driving the global economy for the past half century,” said Welser.
“But the current transistor technology is rapidly reaching its limits, and long-term fundamental research is needed now to be ready for 2020 and beyond. The joint NSF-NRI projects put the country’s best minds together for a common goal –- finding a new device that will continue our leadership in the nanoelectronics era.”
Until recently, manufacturers were able to double the number of transistors on a chip at half the power for each transistor by shrinking them smaller and smaller in each new generation of semiconductor technology. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to continue decreasing the power needed to turn the device off and on, making it difficult to continue the pace of product innovation from scaling alone.
“These investments in nanoelectronics align closely with NSF’s support for engineering and scientific research that furthers discovery,” said Dr. Lawrence Goldberg, senior engineering advisor at NSF. “We believe these grants, which support graduate students and postdoctoral associates, will create innovative technologies and help find a solution to this significant issue facing the semiconductor industry today.”
The joint NSF-NRI supplemental grants were awarded to teams at six NSF centers in nanoelectronics research:
* Network for Computational Nanotechnology, directed by Dr. Mark Lundstrom at Purdue University, working with Kaushik Roy and Supriyo Datta.
* Center for Integrated Nanomechanical Systems (COINS), a Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center, directed by Dr. Alex Zettl at University of California at Berkeley, working with Sayeef Salahuddin and Jeffrey G. Grossman.
* Center for Materials Science and Engineering, a Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, directed by Dr. Michael Rubner at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, working with Caroline Ross and Stuart Wolf (University of Virginia).
* Northwestern University Materials Research Center, a Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, directed by Dr. Monica Olvera de la Cruz at Northwestern University, working with Mark Hersam.
* Center for Advanced Materials Research, a Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, directed by Dr. William Curtin at Brown University, working with Rod Beresford.
* Center for Materials for Information Technology, a Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, directed and led by Dr. William Butler at the University of Alabama.
The NSF-NRI grants are for three years and are, in addition to the 18 grants made to NSF centers over the last three years, expanding and strengthening the commitment to the program.
Companies participating in NRI are GLOBALFOUNDRIES, IBM, Intel, Micron Technology and Texas Instruments. These companies will assign researchers to collaborate with the university teams.
Strong interactions with the NSF-supported centers will be instrumental in NRI reaching its goal of demonstrating the feasibility of novel computing devices in simple computer circuits during the next five to 10 years.