1 A world of opportunities for nanoelectronics Nanoelectronics is not only about smaller transistors and more complex chips, it s about a whole new world of opportunities and solutions to major societal challenges, underlined LUC VAN DE HOVE, president and CEO of IMEC, in his opening keynote at the organization s annual technology forum. electronic nose in smart phone A world of opportunities lies open for the semiconductor industry in the development of smarter and more user-friendly smartphones billion cell phones are in use today. This small device has altered the way we communicate and interact with our environment; it complements our senses with location information and omniscience. One of the senses missing today is smell. Why not incorporate an electronic nose in future smart phones to check air quality, food freshness, or to perform alcohol tests, he asked, while showing a recent e-nose prototype based on MEMS. boosting tablet pc market Another key driver for the industry is the tablet PC. Market analysts predict that by the end of 2011, 54 million tablet PCs will be on the market. As many as 80 different tablet PCs were presented at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. holographic display 3D TV is another major technology driver for the coming years. It will augment our user experience. The market shows an amazing growth rate of 80.2% with about 78 million devices expected by Developments around holographic displays are very important in this field, Van den hove explained. Imec aims to design the ultimate 3D display: a holographic display with a 60-degree diffraction angle and a high-definition visual experience, based on NEMS technology, he noted. smart organic electronics And then there is organic electronics, enabling a whole new world of opportunities for ultralowcost electronics: smart signage interacting with the environment, smart shopping displays suggesting people what to buy, and flexible light panes to stick anywhere in your home. electronics in healthcare But nanoelectronics will also have its impact outside of information and communication technologies - e.g. on the healthcare sector, stated Van den hove. The first wave of health-based devices is on the market today assisting people during sports - however, the real challenge is to provide solutions for the aging population and the associated increasing healthcare cost, he said. The second wave in health-based devices will be about ambulatory monitoring, bringing the doctor to your home. potential on energy market And finally, there is the huge potential on the energy market to provide people with renewable energy solutions. Of all sources of renewable energy, the sun has by far the largest potential, Van den hove said. The aim is to improve the yield of silicon PV systems, bringing down the cost per kilowatt-hour. This can be done by increasing the efficiency of the cells, using less base materials, increasing the lifetime of solar modules and by making the modules smart by integrating sensor functionalities. Meanwhile, organic PV will enable entirely new PV-integrated applications thanks to its flexible, low-cost and light-weight nature, he added.
2 India S technology puzzle is worth solving WIPRO CTO and SENIOR VP ANURAG SRIVASTAVA looked at technology innovation from India s perspective during ITF. In the next decade, India will be the world s largest market of people who want to buy electronic devices and services: a very young society, with educated people all looking to use world-class technology. The opportunity for Information and communication technologies (ICT) companies, and the numbers are simply overwhelming. TECHNOLOGY FOR 1.3 BILLION PEOPLE There is a significant challenge, though: How to bring technology to 1.3 billion people so that they can afford it. The number of people with disposable income is growing, but the average is around USD200. People naturally want world-class, state-ofthe-art devices and services. So here is the dilemma: If you would want10 million+ students in higher education to buy your tablet-like device, you would have to sell it for USD35. The question is, Dr. Srinivasta asked, can you build a business model to do that? MOBILE TELECOM IS INDIA S SUCCESS STORY So there is the challenge to solve the numbers puzzle and bring affordable technology to India s many, many people. Mobile telecom is India s ICT success story, where companies have brought an excellent service to 812 million subscribers for a cost of only USD4 per month. As another example, Wipro is involved in a project to provide India s population with identification services. Biometric cards currently cost USD10, which would make the 1.3 billion person project s costs insurmountable. Their aim is to devise a card that costs USD1, with the same quality. That challenge is still open.
3 Electronics in healthcare new possibilities, more efficiency At imec s technology forum, ERIC DY, business development manager at IMEC, talked about the opportunities that advanced electronics can create in healthcare - to improve the efficiency and cost of the current medical practice, but also opportunities for new, disruptive research and treatments. POINT-of-care equipment Currently, 70% of the diagnostic decisions are based on the results of lab tests. Molecular diagnostics often involves labor-intensive work with expensive machines. Considering the results of R&D work in imec and other research centra on labs-on-chip, there is a huge opportunity here to replace some of the tasks in the labs with massproduced point-of-care equipment that give immediate feedback. microdevices for molecular diagnostics Going a step further: if we can mass-produce microdevices for molecular diagnostics, then the medical community will have access to a large amount of data that they can use to develop more predictive and personal treatments. Treatments that are based on cheap, personal molecular diagnostics. Next wave of e-health imec is one of the few research centres where all the expertise and abilities needed to create the next wave of e-health comes together, Dy pointed out. Innovative circuit design, biosensors, wireless R&D, low-power ICs, biointerfacing -- all are present, connected in an R&D ecosystem including such stakeholders as hospitals and medical device manufacturers. interface between biology & electronics Dy also showcased some of the technologies that will benefit the medical research community. One of the highlights is interfacing between biology and electronics. An example is a platform for high-content screening of molecules and tissues, consisting of an IC with a surface that allows cells to attach and grow, and to communicate through microsized electrodes with the underlying circuitry. Electronics as these will, according to Eric Dy, help scientists do research that was not possible to do before.
4 Will organic PV take off? Organic PV is an emerging field, as illustrated by the many startups popping up in the field: SolarPress, Eight19, Heliatek, etc. Many of these new start-ups are backed by large companies or investment funds, showing the huge belief in the potential of organic PV. But what is so interesting about a PV technology that targets only 10% efficiency? says TOM AERNOUTS of IMEC. Technology with low cost Tom Aernouts, R&D team leader organic photovoltaics, showed a benchmarking graph of all different PV technologies in development today. Even with substantial performance improvements, OPV remains at the lower end of PV technologies, he noted. Nevertheless, it s an extremely interesting technology because of its low cost (potential to go below 0.5 /Wp), its low weight (< 0.5kg/m2), and mechanical flexibility and transparency. new application field All these features are a dream for creative designers and companies, and will open up a whole new application field for PV. Today this creativity is still limited to products such as OPV-integrated bags, chargers, or bus stops with curling roofs. But when the technology gets more mature, its huge potential will unleash, he suggested - for example with applications inbuilding-integrated PV (PV in curtains, windows, walls etc.) Before such things can happen, though, industrial acceptance has to broaden extensively. Before OPV can really take off, it needs the involvement of more players in the value chain, such as equipment suppliers, device manufacturers and integrators, Aernouts said. And gathering all these parties is an important goal also within imec s research program on organic PV. Important challenges Of course, there is also a lot to be done on the technology side before OPV will reach full commercialization. Aernouts explained that the evolution toward higher conversion efficiencies is on schedule, partly thanks to the work of the numerous startup companies. But there still remain some important challenges in increasing lifetime and a clear demonstration of the low-cost potential. The lifetime of OPV cells is influenced by many factors: there is extrinsic degradation due to e.g. intrusion of oxygen and humidity, and there is intrinsic degradation due to e.g. photo-degradation, morphology reorganization and interdiffusion, he explained. It s key to gain insight into these degradation mechanisms so we can tackle them. condcutive polymers The low-cost potential is an important asset of OPV, yet there are only preliminary studies available on cost profiles mainly on lab or pre-pilot fabrication processes. What we learn from these studies is that the material cost dominates strongly over the processing cost, Aernouts said. For example, the transparent (indium tin oxide) electrodes are very costly. Therefore, our research group is looking for cost-effective alternatives based on conductive polymers (e.g. PEDOT) and thin metal layers.
5 Reduce LEDs costs 10x, says Philips Lumileds LEDs currently appear in applications where performance - color, brightness, light quality - defines a compelling advantage over conventional light bulbs. A few barriers still stand between LEDs and mass adoption in illumination, explains JY BHARDWAJ, vice president technology R&D at PHILIPS LUMILEDS LIGHTING COMPANY. 80% of our planet s lighting will come from led First, there is the cost (lumens per dollar) that has to decrease by a factor 10 if LEDs want to be competitive with conventional bulbs. This 10x cost reduction will be achieved by both performance and cost improvements. More in detail, this will be achieved by increasing the internal quantum efficiency (IQE) at high drive current, by improving the Phosphor conversion and by increasing the wafer size with yield and scale enhancement, explains Jy BHardwaj. Currently, The second barrier to be overcome is light quality, states Bhardwaj. How do you achieve a consistent, controllable shade of white? An important research topic to tackle this problem is getting a good control of the phosphorous layer (density and thickness) in the LED stack. Our company has come up with a new device architecture that enables this. It s a thin film flip chip architecture for InGaN LEDs, explains Bhardwaj. Bhardwaj predicts that it will take another 3 years to achieve the desired 10x cost reduction. And by 2020, 80% of our planet s lighting will come from LED. Bhardwaj s colleague Iain Black at Philips Lumileds recently spoke to Solid State Technology s The ConFab audience about LED manufacturing improvements. Read his points about LED costs improvements via manufacturing here.
6 Reaching sub-$1/w cost target of Si PV module manufacturing RICHARD SWANSON, SUNPOWER S PRESIDENT EMERITUS and one of the pioneers of crystalline silicon PV, has witnessed and steered the evolution of PV programs, set up in the wake of the oil crisis of 1973 to create the fundamentals for the development of solar energy. These programs have one major goal: bringing the module price down, to finally eliminate the need for government support and compete with emerging thin-film technologies. Roadmaps have been set up, projecting the magic number of less than $1/W module cost to make Si PV a large-scale, cost-effective energy source. INDIA, WORLD S LARGEST MARKET Through the years, continuous cost reduction has been achieved by improved manufacturing practices, increase of areal throughput of equipment, and upscaling of fabs. But how to take crystalline PV to the next level, reach that magic number and reduce the costs even further? We must boost the cell s efficiency, said Swanson, in his imec ITF keynote talk. If we get more energy out of a cell, we can harvest more energy per gram of costly Si, we can harvest more energy with the same installation costs. A further cost reduction will be enabled by Si wafer thinning, reducing the amount of Si that is needed. INDIA, WORLD S LARGEST MARKET Moreover, continuing Si PV s close association with microelectronics and modern IC manufacturing know-how will continue to play an important role in achieving cost and performance goals, Swanson noted. Relevant microelectronics business processes such as process design, equipment review processes, and statistical process control (SPC) can be transferred into the PV factory.
7 Silicon-ize photonics to satisfy terabit/s cravings What could we download within one second using a chip operating at terrabit/s? We could download two or three seasons of a television drama in high definition, or the entire contents of a laptop hard drive. No matter what we want to do, we demand high-speed connections, explains MARIO PANICCIA, INTEL. Technology with low cost Today, an increasing amount of data (photo, video, scientific data...) is shared between users. By 2015, we will likely have more than 15 billion connected devices. How can we establish these connections? Copper is today s dominant material, but it will soon reach its limits. Can we do this optically? According to Mario Paniccia, the answer is definitely yes : we can bring photonics to Si - siliconize photonics -- and get the best of both worlds. Paniccia presented Bridging photonics and computing during the session Smart integration for nextgeneration smart systems. Si photonics will offer an opportunity for low-cost opto-electronic applications for telecommunications down to chip-to-chip interconnects. In recent years, Intel has made significant progress on this front. Mario Paniccia: We have been able to realize some essential optical building blocks, like a continuous wave Si Raman laser, an avalanche photodector, etc. The next step is to integrate all these building blocks onto silicon, optimize the process and provide a suitable package. Recently, we succeeded in demonstrating an integrated Si photonics optical link operating at 50Gbps. AND WHAT WILL BE NEXT? This technology is expected to be scalable toward 1terrabit/s, on a chip the size of a fingernail. It will enable high-performance computing and other data-intensive applications. Of course, major challenges lie ahead: power efficiency, packaging and commercialization of the technologies. But progress is moving at a rapid rate and, if successful, Si may come to similarly impact optical communications as it has the electronics industry.
8 Technology has escaped into society PETER HINSSEN, co-founder of ACROSS GROUP, CEO of ACROSS TECHNOLOGY, and author of the book The New Normal, starts his presentation by telling imec s International Technology Forum attendees that he s a full-blooded nerd. But that he feels he s among family with an audience of technologists and ICT business people. These people are wellaware of the huge technological advancements of recent years, but are they also aware that technology has escaped into society and that it has a huge impact on how people live their life? new society mindset For a company to survive, they have to understand society s changed mindset. Hinssen lists several rules in The New Normal that explain this mindset. One is zero tolerance for digital failure. Consumers expect to have internet access anytime, anyplace. Another rule is that people are content with good enough technology. Just think about the success of mp3, youtube, skype, flip cameras etc. As a company, you don t have to strive to perfection if the market doesn t demands this. the new normal The message is clear to the technology-oriented audience: digital is the new normal. However, for a company to survive in this new era, it has to understand that the new normal is not about digital, it s about being clever with it. It s not about technology, it s about technology-enabled innovation.
9 The next wave of applications, with chips designed in 3D At the Imec Technology Forum 2011, POL MARCHAL of IMEC introduced his talk on 3D chip technology by recalling some of the powerful trends in the semiconductor market. Each trend points to the next wave of applications using 3D chips with tightly integrated sensors. smaller by a factor of 10 One trend predicts that electronic devices will become smaller by a factor of 10 in the coming years. At the same time, new applications will require a bandwidth between memory and processor that can only be delivered by a tighter, on-chip integration of memory and processor cores. Electronic noses A second trend is that applications will be integrated with forever more sensors. Think of the image sensors or movement sensors that come with nearly every phone nowadays. According to Marchal, smell will be next, calling for the integration of electronic noses, sensors that recognize hundreds of different vapors. To integrate these sensors, a tight 3D integration brings advantages: a smaller form factor, high IO density, reduced power consumption through much shorter connections with less parasity. In short, no technology compromises. maturing 3D SIC technology Imec is one of the research centers where 3D integration was pioneered. The technology flavor developed was 3D-SIC (3D stacked ICs), where dies are interconnected through the silicon with so-called TSVs (through-silicon vias). 3D SIC technology has now matured to a level where you will see products coming out of the fabs in the coming years. designing challenges But despite a maturing technology, the challenges to design and fabricate 3D SICs are still considerable. Marchal outlined how imec has recently build a first heterogeneous 3D design, a DRAM-on-logic test vehicle, with the goal to resolve 3Drelated processing challenges, perform a first assessment of the compatibility of 3D & DRAM technology, pipeclean the supply chain, and set up design rules for 3D. According to Paul Marchal, the design and integration of sensor applications can benefit from a strong collaboration between the various supply chain partners -- if it is focused on an attractive system roadmap for everyone involved.open.
10 HD taste? Developing the ultimate experience In a pleasantly animated presentation, JAN WILLEM BRANDS of BARCO is in pursuit of the ultimate television experience. His starting point is Super Hi-Vision, promoted by NHK, the Japanese broadcaster. With 32 million pixels, this television displays 16 times more visual data than full highdefinition television (FHD TV) does. multimedia system with 5 senses On top of that, it has about 24 sound channels to create a really 3D sound experience. Commercial introduction is planned for Is this the end of television innovation? How many pixels and sound channels are enough for human beings to process and enjoy? A rough estimation brings us to the number of 18 gigapixels (=600 million pixels x 30 parallel screens) for an ultimate vision experience and about 400 channels for an ultimate sound experience. So, there is room for improvement. Let s take it a step further. According to Jan Willem Brands, the real and ultimate multimedia system needs to represent all the 5 senses, i.e. vision, sound, touch, taste and smell. We can estimate the bit rate that we need to ultimately experience each sense. E.g., for taste, taking into account the number of different tastes, the maximum number of tastes that we can experience per second, etc, we end up in a bit rate of about 600bit/s. If we do these calculations for each sense, we end up in a grand total of 108 terabit/s: room for improvement. Of course, this brings along huge challenges, as today, there is no practical way to broadcast smell and taste. We could probably find inspiration in Hollywood science fiction movies, which have a tradition of predicting future technologies like the early holographic representations (as in Star Wars) and a direct connector (as in Avatar). Even so, developing overwhelmingly realistic face-to-face communications is a huge challenge.
11 Intelligent nodes for the networked body Closing the technical sessions of this year s ITF, HARMKE DE GROOT, IMEC program director for ultralow-power technologies, discussed automated body monitoring, and how it could impact future healthcare. intelligent patches The vision she painted is one of unobtrusive, comfortable sensors that are worn on the body - possibly hidden into clothing, attached to the body as intelligent patches, or even, in the extreme case, implanted. Sensors that measure body parameters and send them wirelessly to a base station and from there on to the hospital. permanently monitoring from the house People suffering from chronic diseases, or elderly people that need watching, could be monitored from their homes. The result would be a win-win: for the healthcare system, automated home monitoring would be cheaper and would free many resources; and for patients, they could be monitored without leaving their homes, permanently and comfortably. raw building blocks available To make this vision come true technically, most of the raw building blocks are available, e.g. sensors, wireless radios, etc. The main exercise now is to integrate these in a package that really delivers on the promise. ultralow-power radio One issue, for example, is energy use and autonomy. To make home monitoring really attractive, you d need sensors that can work for weeks without needing to be replaced or batteries recharged. That is no easy requirement, requiring orders-ofmagnitude gain in energy efficiency compared to commercially available electronics. Over the past few years, imec has done a lot of R&D in this area. Recently, it unveiled a new ultralow-power radio component, dedicated for use in body sensors, and a new versatile ultralow-power biomedical signal processor, CoolFlux, made in collaboration with NXP. With these components, and through careful co-design and co-optimization of all the components, imec made monitoring nodes that sense, compute, and send for over a week on a single small battery. To illustrate the possibilities, imec integrated its components in prototype applications, for example a full-ecg monitor in the form of a lightweight necklace. The ECG remains functional even when the wearer moves around, sending a full ECG reading to a base station that may be up to 10 meters away from the wearer..
12 Smartphones are amazing, but a challenge For ITF s 2nd keynote of the day, JIM CLIFFORD of QUALCOMM introduced his talk by referring to the social changes that are taking place in many countries, such as Tunisia and Egypt - changes that are made possible, he said, because of technology such as the smartphone, a platform that makes it possible to share communication and experiences. For many people their first computing device will be a smartphone, and their first contact with the Internet will be through them as well. compute power of chips keeps growing He then went on to link the ever-increasing functionality of smartphones with the computing power needed to make it all work: the silicon that has to run the various types of devices, the competing OS s, the many connectivity and network choices, etc. Over the last few years, the compute power of the chips that drive smartphones has kept on growing tremendously. Still, in view of what is possible with a smart platform, there seems to be never enough computing power. first 3D camera will be a smartphone Just think of the added computations needed to tackle just one of the next challenges: image processing. Modern-day cameras are ready to do face detection - but just around the corner is face recognition. And what about the recognition of feelings from pictures, or labeling every face in a crowd? Or making 3D movies? For most of us, Clifford noted, our first 3D camera will be a smartphone. piece of silicon The challenge for companies such as Qualcomm is to integrate all that power and functionality on a piece of silicon. It s tobe best-in-class, and at the same time to deliver a product that is cheap enough so that it is actually picked up and used. Cost reduction by 29% per year For all the technical challenges, Clifford pointed out, the engineers always come up with solutions - but will those solutions still be cost-effective? Up to now, the industry has succeeded in bringing down the costs by 29% per year. But seeing the solutions ahead, he fears that the cost reduction curve may soon flatten. He calls upon the ICT community, especially the R&D partners such as imec, to make sure that the cost reduction curve can be lengthened for at least some more time.
13 Vision systems entering a new era of digital optics A delicious piece of salmon, nicely decorated with mashed potatoes and red cabbage. Not a foretaste of what we ll get at the itf2011 conference dinner, but a picture out of the presentation of FRANCESCO PESSOLANO, IMEC to illustrate what future vision systems will be capable of. hyperspectral imaging In the world of cameras, video, and spectral tools, the future is to digital optics - take the optical path (i.e., lenses, mirrors, filters) and make it out of chips, in a digital way. Let s get back to our piece of salmon. We can look at it with a traditional imaging system and it tells us which color, shape, and texture the salmon has, just as our own eyes do. But we can also use hyperspectral imaging. This technique zooms in on each pixel and looks at the light reflected from the pixel, from UV to IR and even deep-ir. It gives us a curve, which is characteristic for the material at that specific salmon pixel. It allows us to see more. Hyperspectral imagers are in use by industry, but they are very slow, massive and expensive. This hinders their wide applicability in areas such as healthcare, forensic medicine and food sorting. digital optics If we implement digital optics, however, we get a small, fast, cheap, reliable, and broadly employable hyperspectral imaging system - that s the aim of imec s NVision program, headed by Pessolano. The digital optics inside will be enabled by advanced CMOS, by microscale MEMS (think about micromirror arrays to make digital lenses), and on the longer-term bynanoscale MEMS. Digital optics will offer the advantages of digital imaging. And compared to traditional optics, it costs less, is easy to scale, improves what exists (such as hyperspectral imaging) and opens up a range of revolutionary applications (such as holographic video). Developing the new vision systems requires a holistic approach: we should look at the system from technology all the way to application, from exploring digital optics all the way to examining the quality of our piece of salmon.
14 2011: the year for EUV to prove its readiness The clock is ticking for EUV lithography, one of the main candidates to print critical layers in 22nm technology and beyond. According to GEERT VANDENBERGHE, director of imec s advanced lithography program, EUV will now have to prove its readiness, laying high expectations on ASML s NXE:3100 preproduction tool, which is currently being installed at IMEC. EUV, A TOOL WITH A LOT OF CAPABILTY Nevertheless, he feels fairly secure about the tool s capability. Already today, it produces a handful of wafers per hour, a 10 improvement compared to ASML s alpha demo tool (ADT); this is expected to increase toward 60WPH by 1Q12. And from earlier tests at ASML, it seems that printing 22nm L/S comes within reach. Of course, besides tool development, mask defectivity and resist development remain in the top-3 of critical issues, but three years of on-site learning with the ASML ADT has enabled significant process. Take mask defectivity as an example. Some multilayer mask defects can currently only be found by wafer inspection techniques and you cannot repair them. But you can mitigate them (correct for their imaging effect), and imec has been able to do so. For resist, there is comparable good news. EUV CLOSE TO THE MANUFACTURABILITY Vandenberghe is convinced that all these issues have brought EUV closer to manufacturability. In parallel, his team is stretching 193nm immersion lithography to its ultimate limits to support technologies down to the 22nm node. They do this by co-optimizing scanner, process, and layout. At next year s imec ITF, we will rendez-vous to see if both technologies have met the expectations.