Our R&D strategy is driven by industry trends such as electrification, beyond 5G, Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0. Some examples of research are beyond 5G RF technologies, power electronics, advanced packaging, Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), and Artificial Intelligence (AI) hardware with in-memory computing.
Power electronics systems are important for electric aircraft, electric vehicles, electric ship and power grids. Transistors in such systems must be able to withstand high voltage and temperature. There are numerous efforts looking into wide bandgap semiconductor materials that can achieve a higher breakdown voltage compared to silicon. Transistor made from these material can lead to smaller and more efficient electronic systems that control and convert electric power. This can help to improve how far the electric vehicles can travel before charging is required. For example, silicon carbide has started to replace silicon in power electronics because of its wide bandgap, which is about three times that of silicon.
BEYOND 5G RF TECHNOLOGIES
With the completion of the standardization of fifth generation (5G) communications and the deployment of 5G network, a number of researchers are looking at the visioning and planning of 6G communications. Some of their visions for 6G include holographic calls, flying networks, tele-operated driving and the tactile internet. An example of new enabling 6G technologies is terahertz communications.
With the slowing down of Moore’s law, the industry is turning to advanced packaging to bring new features to the electronics. Some examples are advanced Intelligent power module (IPM) packaging for electric vehicles, chiplet prototyping line and Fan-out Wafer Level Packaging (FOWLP) for automotive mmWave antenna-in-package and 5G mmWave antenna-in-package.
Fig.1 IME’s Intelligent power module (IPM) packaging for electric vehicles
Fig.2 IME’s 5G mmWave antenna-in-package
MEMS based sensors are widely used in IoT and industry 4.0. Some examples are chemical sensors such as self-reference relative humidity sensor, Mid-infrared technology for gas sensing and Acoustic MEMS (eg. Piezoelectric Micromachined ultrasonic tranducers (pMUTs) for ultrasound imaging.
AI HARDWARE WITH IN-MEMORY COMPUTING
There are numerous efforts looking at new architectures for power efficient AI hardware. Examples of such enabling technologies are analog memories, system-level integration solutions for emerging architecture, resource efficient training and inference at the edge, and energy-efficient AI.