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imec opens new cleanroom to advance GaN-on-silicon, MEMs, silicon photonics innovation

A one billion euro investment will allow for next generation research in a 12,000m2 space

Nanoelectronics research centre imec has announced the opening of a new 300 mm cleanroom. With this new 4000m2 facility, imec's state-of-the-art semiconductor research cleanrooms now totals 12,000m2, one of the most advanced research facilities in the world dedicated to scaling IC technology beyond 7nm. This facility will enable imec to keep its global leading position as a nanoelectronics R&D centre serving the entire semiconductor ecosystem. Its global partners including foundries, IDMs, fabless and fablite companies, equipment and material suppliers, will benefit from top-notch semiconductor processing equipment (including alfa and beta tools) to develop innovative solutions for more powerful, high-performing, cheaper and energy-efficient ICs, which are crucial in the evolution of the Internet of Everything and a sustainable digital future.

Extending the existing cleanroom, the new facility complies with the newest standards in the semiconductor industry, and provides additional space for the most advanced tools that will lead innovations in new device and system concepts. Installations of the first tools began in January 2016. The new state-of-the-art 300 mm cleanroom complements imec's other production facilities including its bio-nanolabs, neuroelectronics labs, imaging and wireless and electronics test labs, photovoltaic pilot lines, and GaN-on-Si, silicon photonics and MEMS pilot lines.

"Since our founding in 1984, imec has become the world's largest independent nanoelectronics research center with the highest industry commitment," stated Luc Van den hove, president and CEO at imec. "This success is the result of the unique combination of our broad international partner network, including the major global players of the semiconductor industry, top scientific and engineering talent, and imec's one of a kind infrastructure. The extension of our cleanroom provides our partners with the necessary resources for continued leading edge innovation and imec's success in the future within the local and global high-tech industry."

The cleanroom was constructed by M+W, an internationally renowned contractor of large-scale high-tech infrastructure. The construction was completed in 20 months, and includes a reflecting facade, from Architect Stéphane Beel, which is intended to integrate the building with the environment. The new cleanroom comprises a total investment (building and equipment) of more than 1 billion euro of which 100 million euro funding from the Flemish Government and more than 900 million euro investments from joint R&D with the leading players from the entire semiconductor industry, totalling more than 90 industrial partners.

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