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Tyndall and MIT partner on sustainable semiconductors

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The MIT-led FUTUR-IC project has won funding from the NSF to develop sustainable production processes and workforce education programmes for the semiconductor industry, and will harness technological expertise in photonics and advanced packaging

Tyndall National Institute (UCC) has announced that its researchers have been awarded funding by the National Science Foundation in the US to diversify and strengthen the supply chain for manufacturing and packaging of semiconductor devices. The FUTUR-IC project is led by researchers at MIT and includes Tyndall, SEMI (an organisation to advance the global semiconductor supply chain), Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Intel, International Electronics Manufacturing Initiative (iNEMI), and the Rochester Institute of Technology. The Tyndall scientists participating in the project are led by Peter O’Brien, a professor at Tyndall and head of the institute’s Photonics Packaging & Systems Integration Group.

The market for microelectronics in the next decade is predicted to be on the order of a trillion dollars, but most of the manufacturing for the industry occurs only in limited geographical pockets around the world.

“The current microchip manufacturing supply chain, which includes production, distribution, and use, is neither scalable nor sustainable and cannot continue,” says Anu Agrawal, principal research scientist at the Materials Research Laboratory, MIT. “We must innovate our way out of this future crisis.”

FUTUR-IC is a reference to the future of integrated circuits, or chips, through a global alliance for sustainable microchip manufacturing. The project brings together stakeholders from industry, academia, and government, aiming to co-optimise technology, ecology, and workforce. Tyndall researchers will focus their efforts on the dimensions of technology and workforce, bringing their unique expertise in developing advanced packaging technologies and educating the future workforce.

“We have established a deep and impactful partnership with our collaborators at MIT over the past years,” says O’Brien. “FUTUR-IC is a new strand in that partnership, enabling us to deliver meaningful global impacts and strengthen research collaboration between Europe and the US.”

The MIT-led team is one of six that received awards addressing sustainable materials for global challenges through Phase II of the NSF Convergence Accelerator programme. Launched in 2019, the programme targets solutions to especially compelling challenges at an accelerated pace by incorporating a multidisciplinary research approach.

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