The Advanced Technology Investment Company (the owner of Globalfoundries) and the state of Saxony, Germany, have announced the establishment of two research labs working in tandem on areas of interest to the semiconductor industry, such as three-dimensional chip stacking. The "Twin Labs" project will be backed by the ATIC and Saxony, which have each pledged $2.4 million towards the plan over two years.
Research will focus primarily on three-dimensional chip stacking, a potentially faster and more energy efficient semiconductor technology that follows ATIC’s broader emphasis on minimum electronic energy systems, or MEES. Both sites will be of similar size, initially staffed with 10-12 graduate/Ph.D. students. Additional faculty members will be engaged at a later stage after the centers have established initial successes. Masdar Institute of Science and Technology will host the Abu Dhabi research center, while Technische Universität Dresden will oversee development of the Saxony lab.
The research is Saxony will focus on the interconnect aspects of 3D integration, especially the crucial role of TSV [through silicon via] in the back-end-of-the-line structure of 3D-stacked chips. The goal is to develop modules (design blocks) for high-rate interfaces between multiple chips in a semiconductor chip-stack. On the Abu Dhabi side, the research will explore and illustrate the minimum-energy/low-power features of 3D-integrated microelectronics.
Microelectronics is the driving force behind a myriad of innovations pushing the economy and society. The three-dimensional chip stacks expected to be the next fundamental innovation push for microelectronics in a variety of computing, communication, storage and sensing design contexts. Therefore, the Twin Labs strategy may play an important role in the whole industry.
“Dresden, Saxony has become the largest microelectronics hub in Europe, and we are pleased to strengthen our collaboration in driving the semiconductor industry forward. This working partnership is particularly significant as we work to establish Abu Dhabi as a global R&D hub. The areas of research Twin Labs will be addressing are promising and timely to the industry, and I am confident the intellectual property generated will be of great value to ATIC, Globalfoundries and Abu Dhabi,” said Ibrahim Ajami, chief executive officer of ATIC.