ICsense, the Leuven-based IC design house and TDK Group Company, expands its activities to meet the sustained surge in IC demand, among others from European car manufacturers and medical equipment suppliers. Therefore, it now also opens an office in Ghent, a location at the heart of a premier knowledge region that will also enable to recruit additional talent. ICsense is a European market leader in the design of application-specific chips – ASICs – for smart, sustainable electronics. An experienced team, an inclusive startup mentality, and the backing of the Japanese TDK Corporation ensure growth and a bright future for many years to come.
ICsense designs chips and sensors that are at the heart of electric and self-driving vehicles, medical equipment and implants, and other smart electronics. They are essential in the transition to a smarter and more sustainable environment. With demand for chips picking up sharply and geopolitics challenging the electronics world, this is the perfect opportunity for a European market leader such as ICsense to take the challenge and expand.
Bram De Muer, CEO of ICsense: “With this expansion we demonstrate both our leadership and ambition. And with the new office, we also gain access to the expertise and talent pool of the Ghent region. A region which alongside Leuven is an important education and knowledge cluster for new technologies. Newly graduated engineers and experienced designers can come and work with us on projects with real impact, and at the same time bolster their careers.”
Keywords for everyone working at ICsense are Innovation, Excellence, and Trust. These have enabled the group of 90 highly-skilled engineers to grow into Europe’s leading fab-independent IC designer.
Marijke Tuerlinckx, HR Manager at ICsense: “We welcome anyone with the right skills and an eagerness to learn. For us, it is a key concern to offer new employees an interesting growth path and to make them feel welcome in our group. Therefore, we have a system of personal mentors and we organize continued deep training. We do that for all new employees, whether they have just graduated, have had their first work experience, or have already been working for a longer period. The result is that ICsense has become a really close-knit group of colleagues. With the new office in the Zuiderpoort complex, we provide our people with a second pleasant workplace, a place that is easily accessible to everyone, whether they come by bus, train, car or bicycle.”
ICsense, headquartered in Leuven (Belgium), is an independent subsidiary of the TDK Group and Europe’s premier IC design company. ICsense’s core business is ASIC development and supply and custom IC design services. ICsense has the largest fab-independent European design group with world-class expertise in analog, digital, mixed-signal and high-voltage IC design. The company develops and supplies customer exclusive ASIC solutions for the automotive, medical, industrial and consumer market compliant with ISO9001, ISO13485, IEC61508-ISO26262.
About TDK Corporation
TDK Corporation is a world leader in electronic solutions for the smart society based in Tokyo, Japan. Built on a foundation of material sciences mastery, TDK welcomes societal transformation by resolutely remaining at the forefront of technological evolution and deliberately “Attracting Tomorrow.” It was established in 1935 to commercialize ferrite, a key material in electronic and magnetic products. TDK’s comprehensive, innovation-driven portfolio features passive components such as ceramic, aluminum electrolytic and film capacitors, as well as magnetics, high-frequency, and piezo and protection devices. The product spectrum also includes sensors and sensor systems such as temperature and pressure, magnetic, and MEMS sensors. In addition, TDK provides power supplies and energy devices, magnetic heads and more. These products are marketed under the product brands TDK, EPCOS, InvenSense, Micronas, Tronics and TDK-Lambda. TDK focuses on demanding markets in automotive, industrial and consumer electronics, and information and communication technology. The company has a network of design and manufacturing locations and sales offices in Asia, Europe, and in North and South America. In fiscal 2021, TDK posted total sales of USD 13.3 billion and employed about 129,000 people worldwide.
Today many recycling companies struggle with the value assessment of complex material streams. The main issues are the costly and labour-intensive sampling procedures and subsequent chemical analysis, leading to long waiting times (often several weeks) and the associated financial uncertainty.
To counter this, VITO initiated the development of an in-line characterisation technology. This way, heterogenous and complex material streams can be assessed completely – eliminating the need for subsampling – and mass-balances can be produced ‘on-the-fly’. In fact, for each material particle a ‘digital twin’ is created which can be further assessed in a virtual way. In this technology, the heterogenous waste particles are dispersed on a conveyor belt as a mono-layer and scanned using X-rays, a 3D laser scanner and a colour camera. Using artificial intelligence, the device recognizes the individual particles and assigns several important physical parameters: size, mass, shape, material, texture, etc.
The technology has been successfully scaled up from ‘scan-the-bucket’ to ‘scan-the-truck’ as was recently demonstrated during 2 large-scale demo events. For different metal-rich material streams, VITO was able to showcase the industrial relevance of the new characterisation technology. To take on this challenge, VITO partnered with Ghent University and two industrial partners, Suez and Umicore, in the CHARAMBA project. This project has been supported by the European funds from the EIT Raw Materials, which aims to support good ideas and innovations and bring them to the market.
After project completion, VITO wishes to introduce the innovative technology as a service to the market and subsequently launch a spin-off company selling tailor-made in-line characterisation devices to several players in the metal recycling market.
Latency is the term given to the speed and consistency of real-time data streaming, in short: ‘how much time does it take for information to get from A to B. The more latency can be reduced, the better a group of connected devices can communicate. This is what we call ‘Ultra Low Latency’.
BENEFITS OF ULTRA LOW LATENCY
Ability to react to changed data instantaneously
Improving time-critical applications
Improved customer experience
It Saves Lives!
THE IMPORTANCE OF CONTROLLED LATENCY IN THE HEALTHCARE SECTOR
Access to real-time information and the ability to respond instantaneously to ever-changing data significantly improve the efficiency and productivity in the healthcare sector. Being able to access real-time data is crucial in, for example:
Image-guided radiotherapy towards real-time adaptive radiotherapy. Real-time, online adaptive radiotherapy makes treatment more effective and the treatment planning times become faster.
Real-time image-guided biopsy During an actual operation, a doctor can guide a surgical instrument into the best position for obtaining for instance a sample of suspicious cells.
Robot-assisted surgery The instruments translate the surgeon’s actions into precise movements inside the body. The surgical system responds with a low & fixed latency level to the direction the surgeon is providing.
Remote surgery High-speed data connections and Low Latency management information systems are key for remote surgery.
What AimValley has found is that CPUs, or merchant switching silicon do not always achieve the required speeds and low latency and that the computation power of a GPU is good in single processing only. Using our FPGA experience, we have shown that ultra low latency is possible, down to sub-microsecond performance. FPGAs provide a stable and fixed latency which makes the decision making process more reliable.
Additionally, an FPGA is capable of multiprocessing on a single chip, resulting in better performance, physical size reduction, and low energy consumption. The programmable architecture of an FPGA provides flexibility to build a dedicated solution for every application.
AimValley has a proven track record in full product development as well as Embedded Software & Embedded Hardware. For their Ultra Low Latency solutions, they believe that FPGA technology is the best solution and brings more value for money:
Ready for future tasks extension
Downsizing the system
Reducing the cost
Customers can use the same architecture for their future systems, preventing the need for multiple parallel developments, and a high amount of reuse for software, tools, and factory test configurations. The AimValley solutions support both the current systems and the next-generation architecture.
Some examples of AimValley’s expertise:
Consultancy on connectivity protocols by the systems engineering team.
Modeling and simulation of data delays in FPGA
High-speed serial interfaces and serial/parallel conversion delays in FPGAs.
Implementation and validation measurements of sub-microsecond latency on FPGA
– easics booth at VISION 2021 in Stuttgart – live nearbAI demo at Bits&Chips Event 2021 in Eindhoven – nearbAI prototype board supporting FPGA SoMs and ASIC test-chips – nearbAI talk at VISION 2021 in Stuttgart
embedded AI close to your sensors
nearbAITM is easics’ trademarked product for embedded neural network inference using digital hardware, applied close to your sensors. Its prime application is pattern matching in the supervised learning paradigm. nearbAI consists of two parts: a configurable semiconductor IP core that gets instantiated on your custom ASIC or on an FPGA, and software tools to configure your IP core. It is offered in a licensing model. You can contact us for a free nearbAI Estimator tool license to evaluate the performance of your AI application on the nearbAI IP.
high performance, low power, low cost – your choice
nearbAI targets embedded pattern matching applications close to the sensors, where at least one of the following plays a pivotal role: ultra-low and non-variable inference latency for real-time reaction speeds, ultra-low power consumption for battery-powered operation, lowest hardware component cost for high-volume applications. These applications include novel ultra-low latency AR and VR glasses, battery-powered healthcare wearables, human-in-the-loop medical diagnosis equipment, smart product scanners for retail applications, self-navigating drones, collision-avoidance in vehicles, sophisticated in-line quality inspection in industry 4.0 and earth observation in satellites. Targeted sensors include various types of image sensors, MEMS-microphones, and any novel sensors.
evaluate and finetune your application using nearbAI software
The starting point in the nearbAI design flow is a trained neural network model. You can create that using your preferred machine learning framework such as PyTorch, TensorFlow or Keras. The nearbAI Estimator tool reads in your trained model as an ONNX file. Besides that trained model, you input your desired hardware configuration and constraints in the Estimator tool. The latter reflects aspects of your use case such as targeted hardware cost (silicon area), inference speed and latency, and power consumption. The nearbAI Estimator tool shows the latency for each layer of the neural network and highlights any hardware bottlenecks. This allows you to interactively finetune the constraints, evaluate the resulting performance, and arrive at the optimal configuration for your use case, without having to build hardware or run endless simulations.
generate your proprietary nearbAI core
Next, you use the nearbAI Core Generator tool to generate your proprietary nearbAI semiconductor IP core. You further use the nearbAI Network Compiler to generate the microsequence that will sit in memory next to the IP core to run your neural network. Doing ASIC and FPGA design services as well, easics is ready to assist you in integrating nearbAI on your chip.
optimize your return-on-investment. from any FPGA implementation to your ASIC instantiation.
nearbAI supports efficient hardware mapping on your custom ASIC as well as on Xilinx and Intel FPGAs. Evaluation boards using FPGA or FPGA System-on-Module (SoM) are available, and support plug-in of your ASIC test-chip. The same nearbAI core can run several neural networks using different microsequences. This way, a nearbAI-based product supports field upgrades as well as on-the-fly hot switching between neural networks in a running application. The fine-grained configuration options further allow you to generate several flavors of a nearbAI IP core, such as a low performance and a high performance version. This enables the efficient roll out of a product family. All in all, nearbAI future proofs and optimizes the ROI of your embedded AI developments.
we’ll be back
From 5 till 7 October, easics participated in VISION, the world’s leading trade fair for machine vision in Stuttgart. easics gave live nearbAI demos, and presented it in a talk at the Industrial VISION days, organized by VDMA Machine Vision. On 14 October, easics presented nearbAI at the Bits&Chips Event at the Evoluon in Eindhoven. Upcoming opportunities to meet up and see live demos are the IP-SoC conference in Grenoble on 1 and 2 December 2021, and Embedded World in Nuremberg from 15 till 17 March 2022.
Contact easics for more information and for a free nearbAI evaluation license to try it out yourself:
The leading micro-electronics research center imec and the pioneering product development group Verhaert Masters in Innovation entered a strong partnership to ultrafast develop a ground-breaking rapid Covid test based on breath sampling and accelerated PCR technology. A functional prototype will now be commercialized by MiDiagnostics.
Imec announces collaboration with MiDiagnostics for commercialization
Imec and the Flemish government have announced the collaboration between imec and its spinoff MiDiagnostics to further commercialize imec’s breath sampling and ultrafast PCR technology. Together with the Verhaert group they realized a functional prototype through an intense high-risk/high-gain process.
This ground-breaking innovation creates an almost holy grail of testing for the Covid-19 pandemic. The device is able to collect sample material from people through breathing rather than the widely-used nasal pharyngal sampling. On top of that, ultrafast PCR can be performed directly, allowing for extremely fast time-to-results. This provides a far more comfortable sample collection, as well as more efficient processing.
Collaboration imec & Verhaert
At the end of 2019, Verhaert and imec entered a strategic collaboration to co-develop a breakthrough solution based on imec technology platforms. In this context Verhaert also invested in the imec.istart fund to provide seed capital to new technology start-ups.
In January 2020, Verhaert and imec partnered up for this breakthrough rapid Covid PCR test development. In no time, they built a breath sampling consumable containing imec’s innovative chip solution and a high-end PCR processing instrument. These developments will be used as an assay and technology development platform to assess aspects beyond clinical performance. This is a significant step towards a real-life solution and allowing for future expansion into domains other than Sars-Cov-like cancers.
This collaboration required constant interaction between very different disciplines, for example biochemistry and chip development on imec’s part, and product development skills such as optical & thermal design, software development, mechatronics, electronics and mechanics from Verhaert.
To accomplish this strict timeframe, a distinctive and agile project management approach was needed for fast decision-making and pursuing a parallel-path approach.
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About Verhaert Masters in Innovation Since 1969, Verhaert Masters in Innovation has been a pioneer in the field of product innovation. As a leading innovation group in integrated product development, Verhaert helps companies and entrepreneurs to develop and implement successful innovation projects. Today, the group has more than 200 employees with offices in Kruibeke, Gentbrugge, Kortrijk, Nivelles, Utrecht and Aveiro.
Sapiens Steering Brain Stimulation (Eindhoven, NL) is founded in 2011 as a spin-out of Philips Research and got integrated into Medtronic in 2014. Their mission: to revolutionize personalized brain stimulation and treat neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. Sapiens selected ICsense (www.icsense.com) for the development of the core component in its product, the stimulation ASIC (Application Specific IC).
DBS (Deep Brain Stimulation) is an effective and well-established treatment; an implanted device sends electrical impulses to carefully selected parts of the brain to treat neurological diseases. By personalizing these impulses using advanced implanted leads with 40 individual stimulation points, Sapiens aims to improve the therapeutic effect of deep brain stimulation, shorten the clinical procedure, and improve patient comfort by reducing stimulation-induced side effects as shown in the picture below.
FIRST OF A KIND
From day one, it was clear that a custom neuromodulation chip (or ASIC) was essential since a DBS device with 40 stimulation points was never done before. Standard deep brain implants have 3-5 electrodes and are driven by an IPG (Implanted Pulse generator) in the chest. Sapiens’ solution used an adapted chest based IPG design that supplies the stimulation pulses through the lead to the ASIC which is on the patient’s skull. The ASIC distributes the pulses through a high-voltage matrix and is able to sense all electrodes with artefact reduction and to measure impedances. Powering of the ASIC is done over the lead through DC-AC-DC conversion.
THE PATH TO THE BEST ASIC FOR SAPIENS
Sapiens selected ICsense based on its impressive track record in medical implantable ASICs. The team at Sapiens appreciated the transparent and honest communication of ICsense and chose the Leuven company to be their preferred custom ASIC design partner. ICsense’s ASIC expertise but also its system level thinking was an added value for Sapiens in order to take this next step.
At the start of the cooperation, both teams from Sapiens and ICsense worked very close together on the feasibility of the target architecture and balancing the trade-offs of the full system. Given the leapfrog in the state-of-the-art and many challenges, ICsense’s flexibility and open way of working, proved to be key to the success. By advancing at the pace of the customer and taking the time to explore, the best solution for Sapiens’ system was found.
Hubert Martens, Vice President of Product Development and co-Founder at Sapiens, confirms: “ICsense developed this first-of-a-kind and innovative ASIC for stimulation and measurement in our 40-electrode deep brain implant. Next to the high technical and quality standards that ICsense employs, we strongly appreciate their open, honest and flexible way of working, which was key to the success of this development.”
By combining ICsense’s ASIC design expertise with Sapiens in-depth system know-how, both companies managed together to define the right set of ASIC specifications and system requirements (lead integration, packaging, …). An important factor for this cooperation was having a person at Sapiens who has in-depth knowledge of electronics and the system.
“We selected ICsense, because they have all the right profiles in-house, unlike aggregation partners that just bring together different companies to do the work without creating additional value. In every step of the development, we could rely on ICsense’s support and have in-depth and open discussions without any unpleasant surprises. ICsense does not work as a consultant but as a true partner we can trust,“ concludes Martens.
BEYOND THE DESIGN
Based on the specifications, ICsense designed, manufactured and tested this IC for full functionality in its lab facilities in Leuven, Belgium. In parallel, ICsense coordinated the test development with the selected OSAT (Outsourced Semiconductor and Test) partner, to test the custom chip in production with high test coverage (medical grade) and at the agreed price.
Also, in this last phase of the project, a close and open cooperation was key, with regular status meetings, in-depth reviews and even changes in specifications along the way to further optimize the system. ICsense proved to be flexible throughout the whole development process, which led to a successful ASIC that could steer the 40 electrodes from a conventional IPG, measure the brain signals and brain impedance with high-accuracy and low power and fit into a small cannister for implantation.
NOT A ONE-SHOT COOPERATION
As a follow-up of this fruitful cooperation, ICsense designed two more ICs targeting Sapiens’ next-generation product requirements. Part of this work was financed via public funding (ECSEL InForMED, BRAINS Eurostars).
Bram De Muer, CEO of ICsense, comments: “ICsense also loves working with startup companies. They bring projects that go beyond the state-of-the-art and require an ASIC partner that can adapt to their changing ideas, is flexible and open and works closely with them to co-optimize the entire system. That’s a perfect fit with the ICsense way of working and culture: open, honest and a strong partner for its customers.”
“Thanks to our company culture”, continues De Muer, “we have a strong and stable growing turnover and one of the highest employee retention figures in industry. This is important, also for startups. It proves the successful execution of projects, and all know-how stays in the company. When customers return years later, they will see the same people who build their first ASIC. And happy customers always come back….”
In 2014, Medtronic (NASDAQ: MDT) acquired Sapiens for an all-cash upfront consideration of approximately $200M. Medtronic established a global research and development center for its Neuromodulation business at Sapiens’ facility based in Eindhoven (The Netherlands).
ICsense -an independent subsidiary of the TDK group- is Europe’s premier IC design company. ICsense’s core business is ASIC development and supply and custom IC designservices. ICsense has the largest fab-independent European design group with world-class expertise in analog, digital, mixed-signal and high-voltage IC design. The company develops and supplies customer exclusive ASIC solutions for the automotive, medical, industrial and consumer market compliant with ISO9001, ISO13485, IEC61508-ISO26262.
Funded project within S3Food: Next Generation Sensors B.V. and CIED B.V.in the Netherlands aim to develop a portable real time scanner for contamination in food production, called “The Revolutionary Real Time AgroFood Contaminant Screener”.
S3Food is the pan European project for digital Industry 4.0 transition in which DSP Valley takes part as one of the 13 international consortium partners. It funds this great project that will develop the portable real time scanner for contamination in milk production. The second-largest food type in the agri-food testing market is the dairy industry, which is why the project will start with that industry as the launching market. After the product launch meat and fruit/vegetable companies – and food/feed companies in general – will follow rapidly after that.
An unprecedented portable contaminant screener will be delivered in this Lab-to-Sample. The development of Minimum Viable Product (MVP) allows the partners to rapidly commercialise their joint innovation. The proposed screener’s underlying technologies are:
– an unparalleled portable mass spectrometer – a novel rapid sampling probe – a novel blockchain ledger – and machine learning algorithms
These algorithms are resulting in a revolutionary real-time dairy contaminant screener. Accurate, real-time contamination detection at the source would:
1) prevent contamination extension because of milk pooling. This is significantly reducing food waste. 2) reduce analysis costs and 3) drastically reduce the need for costly food recalls
Next Generation Sensors B.V. + CIED B.V. are also collaborating with The Maastricht MultiModal Molecular Imaging Institute (M4I).
DSP member Verhaert Masters in Innovation has received a research grant from VLAIO to develop state-of-the-art artificial intelligence (AI-)driven robot technology.
In the research project, Verhaert will develop a robotic platform for spinal surgery which uses algorithms developed by Deep Learning (AI). The developed algorithms will transform high resolution preoperative 3D images, like CT scans and MRIs, to high resolution images of the patient in his or her new physical laying position during surgery. The novel part of the proposed procedure is the significant reduction of the use of cancerogenous ionizing x-ray beams during surgery, like CT-scans, while still being able to perform sub-millimeter surgery and catheter tracking.
3-step surgical procedure Defining the concept The physical laying position of the patient changes before, at the start and during surgery, which has an impact on the physical position and form of the spinal cord. All these changes in position need to be taken into account in order to perform sub-mm surgery.
Before: the patient is laying on her back for high resolution CT/MRI scans.
At the start: the patient is laying on her stomach.
During: the patient is laying on her stomach and slightly moves because of breathing, heartbeat and the impact of the surgery itself.
A high resolution sub millimeter 3D image is taken from the patient several days before surgery. This is done either by a CT-scan or MRI. Typically, the scan is taken while the patient is laying on his/her back. Based on the image the surgery is planned and a trajectory is calculated in order to reach the desired location in the spinal cord.
At the start of surgery At this stage the patient will be laying on his/her stomach. Markers are placed on the patient which are detected by a set of Infra-Red cameras in order to create a 3D model of the patients’ physical position on the operating table. In this new position, a low dose low resolution (supra-millimeter) 2D image is take of the patients’ spine. The 2D image is taken with a C-arm 2D fluoroscopic scanner.
The 2D image and the external marker localizations are used to transform the high resolution pre-surgery 3D image into a newly reconstructed high resolution 3D image of the spine in its new position and form. At this point, the surgeon and its team has a 3D image of the patients’ anatomy in combination with an external reference frame.
In the Netherlands, 300 to 400 people are infected per year with the legionella bacteria (Legionnaires’ disease or Pontiac fever), a number that is rising each year. Victims of the bacteria suffer for a long period, from several months up to more than a year. Between 5 and 10% of cases are lethal.
Legionella infections mostly occur through people breathing in legionella-contaminated aerosols. Aerosols are small droplets of water that are generated, for example, when showering. For this reason, public showers like the ones in sports centres, swimming halls, and saunas, as well as truck stops and camp sites, need to be flushed regularly to prevent legionella growing in the water pipes. The required flushing is often done manually or semi-automated, which is very time consuming, prone to human errors, and labor intensive. Especially when one takes into account the legal obligations to report data like date, time, water temperature, and flush duration per shower.
The risk of legionella contamination has increased in the current Covid-19 crisis with the (temporary) closure of facilities. Showers are not used by clients and facility engineers who have to stay home and are not allowed to come to their facilities for the requisite flushing.
Sfella is the Smart Flush solution by Mioto* that addresses all of the above issues. Sfella is a user-friendly, reliable and easy-to-install solution for legionella prevention. The system is modular, for use within environments with multiple showers. It assures flushing the shower(s) happens after an operator-defined time period. The system reports the important flush data like date, time, duration, and water temperature. This reporting and control of the showers happens locally or remote via a dedicated gateway.
Sfella is powered by the mesh network MyriaNed. It is an infrastructure of nodes that connect directly, dynamically, and non-hierarchically. This allows easy configuration and scalability. Data transfer to and from the shower units (represented by a node) is wireless and bi-directional. Therefore, settings can be changed remotely, while the report with flush-related data can be received remotely in your email inbox. MyriaNed can be configured to use either 868MHz or 2.4GHz. This allows for the optimal fit in each local environment in terms of coverage and energy usage.
In February 2020, just before the first Covid-19 wave struck the Netherlands, van Mierlo Ingenieursbureau B.V. started a pilot program with Sfella on 15 showers in a care institute. The unforeseen Covid-19 crisis forced the care institute to close its sports facilities for several months, a perfect period to test the installed Sfella system. It appears the automatic flushing happened every 72 hours as programmed. Once the facilities opened again in early summer, final confirmation arrived: examinations of the water samples taken showed no legionella contamination in the related water pipes. This offered the most convincing evidence that Sfella delivered.
van Mierlo Ingenieursbureau is now to actively approaching the Dutch market and discussing with sales and distribution partners, as well as technology partners, to broaden the Sfella roadmap. If you are interested in partnering for sales and distribution, including outside the Netherlands, please contact us.
ASCENT+ mobilises an unprecedented network of knowledge and investment to open access to key European infrastructures and enable academic and industry researchers to address emerging challenges in Nanoelectronics and to accelerate innovation path-finding.
Building on previous success, and with an additional EU investment of €10m, ASCENT+ brings together 15 partners to make world-class facilities available and to foster the Nanoelectronics community. ASCENT+ offers an extensive portfolio to access state-of-the-art processing, modelling and data sets, metrology and characterisation, and devices and test structures for Nanoelectronics. As such, it significantly advances the first phase of the open access programme (ASCENT https://www.ascent.network/) which delivered 100 access projects to researchers from 30 countries across the global research community over the last four years and built a community of over 400 researchers.
ASCENT+ integrates a unique research infrastructure with outstanding credentials. The partners’ facilities at CEA-Leti (FR), Fraunhofer Mikroelekronik (DE), imec (BE), INL (PT/ES) and Tyndall (IE) combine research infrastructure and expertise representing over €2.5 billion of investment and several millennia of accumulated knowledge.
ASCENT+ also includes CNRS (FR), Universiteit Gent (BE), TU Bergakademie Freiberg (DE), JKU (AT) and the University of Padova (IT) as academic partners to advance the project’s offering and further stimulate the user community to bridge the gap between scientific exploration and development of proof-of-concept technologies. This will fast-track the development of next generation information processing devices.
ASCENT+ will grow a first-class research and innovation network through the participation of Silicon Europe Alliance members: DSP Valley (BE), MIDAS (IE), Minalogic (FR) and Silicon Saxony (DE) as well as the SiNANO Institute (FR), reaching out to over 3,700 members.
Giorgos Fagas, ASCENT+ lead and Head of EU Programmes at Tyndall National Institute said “The next era in Nanoelectronics is driven by demonstrations of: (i) quantum advantage using solid-state platforms; (ii) low-power, energy-efficient, high-performance computing based on disruptive devices; and (iii) increased functionality through advanced integration of a diverse range of materials and innovative technologies. ASCENT+ offers an unparalleled access opportunity to users, empowering them to respond to these new problems and to advance knowledge and technology through generating novel results and nurturing talent in their own labs.”
ASCENT+ presents a unique opportunity for Europe to regain global leadership in Nanoelectronics at a pivotal time as the horizon broadens beyond Moore’s law. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No. 871130.
About the ASCENT+ Partners
Tyndall National Institute is a leading European research centre in integrated ICT hardware and systems. Central to Tyndall’s mission is delivering economic impact through research excellence. We work with industry and academia to transform research into products in our core market areas of communications, agri-tech, energy, environment and health.
Tyndall is home to a high-tech national research infrastructure unique in Ireland and is key to the national economy. Tyndall uses its facilities and expertise to support industry and academia globally and provides large numbers of highly qualified graduate students. Our researchers have won numerous awards for their ground-breaking research on new materials, devices and systems across micro/nanoelectronics and photonics, including in the areas of ICT for Health, smart farming, wearables and the industrial Internet of Things (IoT).
We are also a lead partner in European research programmes. In H2020, we deliver value to European research in 99 projects so far (16 as coordinator).
Imec is a world-leading research and innovation hub in nanoelectronics and digital technologies. The combination of our widely acclaimed leadership in microchip technology and profound software and ICT expertise is what makes us unique. By leveraging our world-class infrastructure and local and global ecosystem of partners across a multitude of industries, we create groundbreaking innovation in application domains such as healthcare, smart cities and mobility, logistics and manufacturing, energy and education.
As a trusted partner for companies, start-ups and universities we bring together more than 4,000 brilliant minds from almost 100 nationalities. Imec is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium and has distributed R&D groups at a number of Flemish universities, in the Netherlands, Taiwan, USA, and offices in China, India and Japan. In 2019, imec’s revenue (P&L) totaled 640 million euro.
Leti, a technology research institute at CEA, is a global leader in miniaturization technologies enabling smart, energy-efficient and secure solutions for industry. Founded in 1967, CEA-Leti pioneers micro-& nanotechnologies, tailoring differentiating applicative solutions for global companies, SMEs and startups. CEA-Leti tackles critical challenges in healthcare, energy and digital migration. From sensors to data processing and computing solutions, CEA-Leti’s multidisciplinary teams deliver solid expertise, leveraging world-class pre-industrialization facilities. With a staff of more than 1,900, a portfolio of 3,100 patents, 10,000 sq. meters of cleanroom space and a clear IP policy, the institute is based in Grenoble, France, and has offices in Silicon Valley and Tokyo. CEA-Leti has launched 65 startups and is a member of the Carnot Institutes network.
Follow us on www.leti-cea.com
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, headquartered in Germany, is the world’s leading applied research organization. Fraunhofer develops key technologies that are vital for the future and enables the commercial exploitation of this work by business and industry, thus playing a central role in the innovation process. Today, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft operates over 74 institutes and research institutions with 28,000 employees. Current annual research budget amounts to €2.8 billion. Thereof, €2.3 billion are generated through contract research, including roughly €95 million funded by the European Commission. The Fraunhofer Group for Microelectronics consists of 11 institutes with a combined staff of over 3600 and an annual operational budget of over €500 million. The technology spectrum ranges from 300mm CMOS technologies to hetero-integrated smart devices and novel end user applications. Together with 2 additional institutes of the Leibniz association these institutes are the Research Fab Microelectronics Germany, FMD, the backbone of research and development in microelectronics in Germany.
More information on: www.mikroelektronik.fraunhofer.de
The International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory (INL), is the first and, so far, the only, international research organization in Europe in the field of nanotechnology. INL had been established in 2005 by a joint decision of the Governments of Portugal and Spain, with the mission to perform cutting-edge interdisciplinary research and development in nanoscience and nanotechnology and to function as an innovation integrator in multiple application domains.
Operating since late 2010, following an investment of 100 M€, INL is on the Portuguese Road Map of Research Infrastructures. INL is currently financed by member-state contributions, competitive funds from national and international calls, and fees from users and industry. The research and development environment at INL includes a state-of-the-art cleanroom for nanofabrication and comprehensive facilities for testing and nanocharacterization of devices and materials. At the beginning of 2020, there were 368 people of over 40 nationalities working at INL, 312 of them researchers.
More information on: https://inl.int
The SiNANO Institute is the European Academic and Scientific Association for Nanoelectronics, gathering 22 reknown Universities and Research Centers from 13 European countries. Sinano carries out a role of representation and coordination of the associated Organizations in order to strengthen the impact of the research activities at EU level in this very important field for many future applications and markets.
Members of the Institute are particularly exploring disruptive science and technology aspects for long term to identify the most promising topics for future ICT and speed up technological innovation. Activities from More Moore, More than Moore, Beyond CMOS to Smart Systems and System Design are sound competences of Sinano.
We are also organizing international Workshops and Conferences to develop high competence levels in Europe, and participating in roadmap definition. In this respect, the Sinano Institute is the European representative of IRDS. Sinano plays an important role in European structuring and programs, in collaboration with Research Institutes and Industry, and strengthens the overall efficiency of the European research in Nanoelectronics.
More information on: www.sinano.eu
MIDAS Ireland is an industry led cluster consisting of over 60 member organisation from industry, educational, research and government agencies, working together to assist in the development of the electronics based systems sector in Ireland. MIDAS began in 1999 as the Microelectronics Industry Design Association with a focus mainly on the design of advanced integrated circuits. Today MIDAS Ireland represents the entire value chain, as the industry evolves to deliver more complete electronic and software system solutions with €13.5bn export revenue and €325m in annual R&D spend. MIDAS Ireland is the key enabler of networking and collaborative opportunities within our industry and represents the needs of the sector to government. It supports the upskilling of graduate and professional engineers to meet the ever changing needs of this ‘deep tech’ sector.
More information on: www.MidasIreland.ie
DSP Valley is the organization for companies creating, applying, and adapting to electronic solutions and digital technologies in the Low Countries. As a cluster organization, our mission is to Breed Digital Business through Collaborative Business Development. We do this for our members through local, regional, and international networks focused on 5 major areas: Smart City, Smart Health, Smart Mobility, Industry 4.0, Digital Technologies. DSP Valley takes part in European projects such as ASCENT+ as a further broadening of these activities, bringing expertise and a strong network to consortia.
Headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, DSP Valley also has offices in Eindhoven (NL), Antwerp (BE), and Hasselt (BE).
More information at: https://breedingdigitalbusiness.com
Minalogic is a global innovation cluster for digital technologies serving France’s Auvergne-RhôneAlpes region. The cluster supports leading innovators by facilitating networking, fostering collaborative R&D, and providing companies with personalized assistance throughout all phases of business growth. The products and services developed by our members address most industries including ICT, healthcare, energy, advanced manufacturing and mobility.
Minalogic has 400 members, including academic laboratories, RTOs and 320 companies, among which 75% are SMEs. Our members develop and/or integrate components, materials, services and solutions based on innovative microelectronics, photonics and software.
The cluster has certified more than 450 projects that have secured total government funding of €838 million of the more than €2 billion in total R&D spending these projects represent. This resulted in 56 products and generated €3,6 billion in revenue. Minalogic is a proud member of Silicon Europe and was awarded with Gold Label for Cluster Excellence for the 2nd time in 2016.
More information on: www.minalogic.com/en
With more than 350 members, Silicon Saxony e. V. is the largest high-tech network in Saxony and one of the largest microelectronics and IT clusters in Germany and Europe. Since its foundation in 2000, Silicon Saxony has been a self-financed association linking manufacturers, suppliers, service providers, universities, research institutes, public institutions as well as industry-relevant start-ups in Saxony and beyond.
The cluster’s focus is on technological trends of the present and future – e.g. artificial intelligence, robotics, automation, internet of things, sensors, energy efficiency as well as neuromorphic and edge computing. As a high-profile information, communication and cooperation platform, the association promotes the regional, national and international networking of its members by participating in and organizing industry events and projects.
Moreover, Silicon Saxony is one of the founding partners of Silicon Europe – an alliance of twelve European clusters for advanced electronics and software technologies. Since 2012, the network bears the GOLD label for excellent cluster management by the European Cluster Excellence Initiative (ECEI).
More information on: www.silicon-saxony.de/en/home
With about 18,000 students and over 2,500 faculty and staff members, the Johannes Kepler University of Linz (JKU) is one of the main universities in Austria. The Semiconductor Physics Division of the JKU, headed by Prof. Armando Rastelli (the JKU PI within ASCENT+), counts 5 permanent staff members, 5 engineers/technicians and about 30 Post Docs/PhD students. The group has a longlasting tradition in the field of epitaxial growth, structural and optical characterization of semiconductor quantum dots and operates a modern cleanroom equipped with instruments for epitaxial growth, lithography, metal and dielectric deposition, etching and bonding. Particularly relevant to this project is the experience on the development of strain-tunable sources of quantum light for applications in emerging quantum technologies.
More information on: www.jku.at/en
Ghent University is a top 100 university and one of the major universities in Belgium, founded in 1817. Ghent University wants to be a creative community of staff, students and alumni, connected by the values the university upholds: engagement, openness and pluralism. Our motto is ‘Dare to Think’: we encourage students and staff members to adopt a critical approach.
Our 11 faculties offer more than 200 courses and conduct in-depth research within a wide range of scientific domains. Ghent University has about 9 000 staff members and over 45 000 students, of which about 12% are international. Ghent University also has a Global Campus in Songdo, SouthKorea, as an important Asian hub for bio industry and life sciences.
Ghent University has very strong research activities including 66 ERC projects (June 2019), over 3 000 publications annually, 618 patents and 69 spin-offs in the last decade, and 22 business development centers which enable intensive collaboration with industry.
More information on: www.ugent.be/en
CNRS/IMEP, Institute of Microelectronics, Electromagnetism and Photonics, with staff of 110 persons (60 permanents, 50 PhDs) belongs to the top French micro and nanotechnology research academic laboratories, particularly for micro- and nanoelectronics, microphotonics, microsystems and microwaves. CNRS/IMEP is focusing on CMOS and post-CMOS nanoelectronics, as well as new materials and smart devices such as i) advanced CMOS components on bulk silicon, SOI, SiGe and strained Si, ii) NW and nanometric quantum devices, iii) advanced device electrical characterization and simulation techniques. CNRS/IMEP has been very much involved in many FP6, FP7, and H2020 European projects during the last 15 years as coordinator and participant. CNRS/IMEP is collaborating with major technological centers in Europe as well as with main semiconductor industries (ST, SOITEC, GF…). CNRS/IMEP has a 30-year track record in the field of advanced characterization and modelling of semiconductor devices, especially on CMOS and emerging technologies.
More information on: https://imep-lahc.grenoble-inp.fr
The TU Bergakademie Freiberg, as a resource university, focuses its research and teaching on how to deal responsibly with the finite resources of this earth. To this end, the six faculties develop efficient and alternative technologies for raw material extraction, energy technologies, materials and recycling processes and contribute significantly to solving economic and ecological challenges. With the engineering, natural, geo, material and economic sciences, the university combines all areas of modern raw materials research in the basic area and application-oriented research. About 4,000 students receive a scientifically sound and practice-oriented education in 72 courses of study. The TU Bergakademie Freiberg has a long history in semiconductor material research. In collaboration with local and international industrial partners and research institutes, the Institute of Applied Physics at the TU Bergakademie Freiberg accompanies the development process from the synthesis and characterization of the semiconductor material towards nanoelectronic devices.
More information on: https://tu-freiberg.de/en
Dating back to 1222, the University of Padova is one of the leading Universities in Italy, with its 32 departments, 40 doctoral degree courses and 44 interdisciplinary research and service centres, covering an exceptionally broad research scope. Unipd currently participates in 134 Horizon 2020 actions (45 as a coordinator) for a total budget of 54 Million Euro.
Within the University, the centuries-old tradition initiated with Copernicus and Galileo continues today at the Department of Physics and Astronomy “G. Galilei”, one of the most important research centres for physics and astronomy in Italy, with involvement in research projects at the highest international competitiveness in many fields of fundamental and applied Physics, including Nuclear and Particle Physics, Astronomy and Astrophysics, and Matter Physics, with state of the art infrastructures and important role or access to large scale international laboratories, and an excellent track record in Semiconductor Physics for micro/nanoelectronics and photonics.