Acorn and UCLouvain collaborate on SOI research

Acorn and UCLouvain collaborate on SOI research

Technology News |
By Jean-Pierre Joosting

Acorn Technologies, an innovator in the semiconductor and telecommunications markets since 1998, has announced a research collaboration with Jean-Pierre Raskin, PhD, a full professor at the Université catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain), Belgium’s largest French-speaking university. Acorn is funding a research project led by Professor Raskin to assess and quantify the performance potential of the company’s Acorn Buried Stressor (ABS) technology for RF SOI semiconductor manufacturing.

As today’s system and circuit designers approach the limits of Moore’s Law, Acorn is addressing some of the semiconductor industry’s most significant technology roadblocks through multiple commercialization programs. ABS is a proprietary semiconductor strain technology that boosts performance for both legacy and future fully depleted Silicon-on-Insulator (FD-SOI) devices.

FD-SOI technology is a planar process developed to shrink silicon geometries, improve performance and reduce power, thereby extending Moore’s Law without requiring more complicated manufacturing processes. ABS extends the performance and efficiency of ultra-high frequency RF FD-SOI transistors that operate in the hundreds of gigahertz and are essential for 5G and future 6G communications devices. ABS can also be applied to Acorn’s patented germanium laser technology, which provides a silicon-compatible solution for monolithic photonics-on-a-chip to overcome performance-limiting interconnect bottlenecks that cause excessive power consumption.

“Acorn’s ABS technology holds great promise for the semiconductor industry as a novel technique for enhancing the performance of FD-SOI devices,” said Professor Jean-Pierre Raskin. “I look forward to working closely with Acorn’s engineering team as we evaluate and quantify the capabilities of ABS for potential commercial use in a wide range of RF applications.”

A world-renowned expert in RF and FD-SOI technologies, Professor Raskin has collaborated with many of the world’s top semiconductor companies in multiple research projects. He has pioneered important breakthroughs that have been adopted by the FD-SOI sector of the semiconductor industry as an alternative to FinFET technology, with a focus on low-power mobile chipsets used in smartphones and other mobile connected devices.

“ABS technology can provide a 15 to 25 percent performance boost for RF FD-SOI devices by increasing the electron mobility through strain. This is accomplished without performance trade-offs and without adverse effects such as yield-threatening semiconductor layer defects. As RF transistors are now reaching the limits of geometric scaling, further improvements will only come from materials enhancement technologies such as ABS,” said Paul Clifton, VP of semiconductor technologies at Acorn. “Our research project with Professor Raskin will provide invaluable insights as we expand the commercial application of ABS in FD-SOI for next-generation radio technologies including advanced 5G, mmWave and future 6G opportunities.”

Jean-Pierre Raskin has contributed to groundbreaking scientific research demonstrating that Silicon-on-Insulator (SOI) technology can enable affordable, high-performance mobile devices. His findings led to the advent of RF-SOI technology, which has been widely adopted by the global microelectronics industry. The author or co-author of more than 350 scientific articles, Professor Raskin is an IEEE Fellow, an EuMA associate member, and a member of the Research Center in Micro and Nanoscopic Materials and Electronic Devices at the Université catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain), where he has been a full professor since 2007. He received an industrial engineer degree from the Institut Supérieur Industriel d’Arlon and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in applied sciences from UCLouvain.

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