UCSB Joins Hands with Leading Asian Institute to Develop Green Electronics

Singapore and Santa Barbara, California, October 12/13, 2009 - UC Santa Barbara and the Institute of Microelectronics (IME) of Singapore have entered into a “green electronics” research collaboration agreement focused on developing ultra-efficient nanoscale transistors and exploring their circuit-level functionality. The collaboration will be led by Dr. Kaustav Banerjee, professor of electrical and computer engineering and an affiliated faculty member of the Institute for Energy Efficiency (IEE) at UCSB, and by Dr. Navab Singh at IME.

This latest agreement reflects the global involvement of UCSB’s IEE. It falls specifically within the Institute’s Electronics and Photonics solutions group, one of six key research areas for IEE.
More specifically, the collaborative research targets design, modeling, fabrication, and characterization of an emerging category of “green” nanoscale devices with ultra-low leakage—also known as “sub-kT/q” devices.
According to Professor Banerjee, achieving energy-efficiency by lowering leakage power consumption is of critical importance in all future electronic products, and particularly in portable electronic devices, in which increasing energy efficiency means  increasing battery life. The UCSB-IME collaborative research aims to address this issue at the most fundamental level, by creating novel electronic devices whose switching behavior is near-ideal, that is, they can move from ON to OFF state and vice-versa almost instantly. The metric that is used to capture the abruptness of this switching behavior is known as the subthreshold swing, which has a fundamental lower limit of 2.3kT/q = 60 mV/decade for MOSFETs that form the building block of most integrated circuits, indicating that lowering of the source-to-drain current by one decade requires lowering of the gate voltage by 60 mV. At present, MOSFET devices have subthreshold swings in the range of 80-90 mV/decade.
A key aspect of designing ultra energy-efficient electronics, therefore, involves designing transistors whose subthreshold swings are significantly lower than 60 mV/decade. The collaboration will explore new devices that employ a fundamentally different injection mechanism to achieve sub-kT/q or lower than 60 mV/decade switching. “We will be exploring new materials, transistor structures, fabrication techniques, circuits, and architectures to achieve these goals,” added Dr. Singh of IME.
Banerjee’s Nanoelectronics Research Lab at UCSB is renowned for modeling, simulation and design of nanometer scale devices, interconnects, and circuits. The Institute of Microelectronics in Singapore is a leading research institute in the fabrication of advanced device structures “We expect that the synergies in this collaboration will yield exciting discoveries that will have significant implications for the worldwide semiconductor and electronics industries,” added Dr. Patrick Lo Guo-Qiang, Director of the Nano Electronics and Photonics programs at IME.
About the College of Engineering at UC Santa Barbara
The College of Engineering at UC Santa Barbara is a global leader in bioengineering, chemical and computational engineering, materials science, nanotechnology and physics. UCSB boasts five Nobel Laureates (four in sciences and engineering) and one winner of the prestigious international Millennium Technology Prize. Our students, faculty, and staff thrive in a uniquely-successful interdisciplinary and entrepreneurial culture. Our professors’ research is among the most cited by their peers, evidence of the significance and relevance of their work.
About the Institute of Microelectronics (IME)
The Institute of Microelectronics (IME) is a research institute of the Science and Engineering Research Council of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Positioned to bridge the R&D between academia and industry, IME's mission is to add value to Singapore's semiconductor industry by developing strategic competencies, innovative technologies and intellectual property; enabling enterprises to be technologically competitive; and cultivating a technology talent pool to inject new knowledge to the industry. Its key research areas are in integrated circuits design, advanced packaging, bioelectronics and medical devices, MEMS, nanoelectronics, and photonics. For more information about A*STAR, please visit http://www.a-star.edu.sg.
For media enquiries, please contact:
Tony Rairden
University of California Santa Barbara
Phone: (805) 893-4301
Cell Phone: (805) 453-0123
eMail: TRairden [at] Engineering [dot] UCSB [dot] edu
Tan Su-Lynn
Institute of Microelectronics
Phone: (65) 6770-5375
eMail: TanSL [at] IME [dot] A-STAR [dot] edu [dot] sg

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