Power Electronics

Key Semiconductor Research Program Bolstered by NIST Investment

The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), representing U.S. leadership in semiconductor manufacturing and design, applauded the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for its continued support of the Nanoelectronics Research Initiative (NRI), a key industry-government partnership that supports university research to discover new ways to build faster, smaller, more energy efficient devices that are beyond the limits of today's semiconductor technology. NIST announced this week that it will provide $2.6 million annually for the NRI program for up to five years, coupled with funding commitments from industry.

"Semiconductor technology advances have enabled increasingly sophisticated electronic devices for over six decades, revolutionizing the way we work, communicate, travel, entertain, harness energy, and treat illness - just to name a few," said Brian Toohey, SIA president and CEO. "But as key critical circuit layers shrink to a few atoms thick, further progress will become increasingly difficult using current technology. SIA launched the NRI in 2005 in partnership with the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) to help ensure that America rises to this challenge by discovering the next generation of semiconductor breakthroughs, and we appreciate NIST's partnership in that effort."

Since 2005, semiconductor industry leaders such as Globalfoundries, IBM, Intel, Micron Technology and Texas Instruments have contributed millions of dollars annually to the NRI. This funding, coupled with government investments, has allowed the program to facilitate the research of almost 500 students from more than 55 universities, resulting in 34 patent applications, seven patents granted, and citations in more than 1,900 research publications.

The new NIST award is the successor to the previous five-year collaboration between NRI and NIST. The earlier program primarily focused on developing the basic logic elements that are the building blocks of electronic devices. The new program will expand the scope to consider innovative circuit architectures and devices that combine logic with memory, analog and other functions to provide high "computational density."

"Through effective industry-government-university partnerships like the NRI, the semiconductor industry will continue to create jobs, drive economic growth and develop the technologies needed to build a brighter future for our country," Toohey said.

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