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1 August 2008

IME Team wins the highly coveted Singapore National Technology Award 2008. The team, led by Dr. Lo Guo-Qiang (Patrick) together with Dr. Narayanan Balasubramaniam, Dr. Navab Singh and Dr. Ajay Agarwal, emerged from 25 high quality nominations to clinch the award for their outstanding contributions to the research and development of Silicon-based Nanowire technology and for pioneering the realization of novel CMOS transistor architectures and a new class of electronic bio-sensors. The National Technology Awardees, in picture, from left Dr. Navab Singh, Dr. Ajay Agarwal, Dr. Patrick Lo Guo-Qiang and Dr. Narayanan Balasubramanian, received the award from Mr. Lim Hng Kiang (middle), Minister for Trade and Industry.

For more than 40 years, the semiconductor industry has made spectacular improvements in high volume manufacturing of increasingly complex and miniature devices based on Silicon Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) devices. Further miniaturization requires the use of novel device architectures with critical dimensions in the order of nanometers. In the category of novel architectures, gate-all-around (GAA) nanowire field effect transistor (FET) is the most prominent candidate to extend the scaling limit of CMOS technology.

In addition, the wires of diameter as low as 5 nanometers (nanowires) have unique characteristics because of their one-dimensionality. The large surface-to-volume ratio makes them suitable for highly sensitive biomedical and environmental sensors. Their unique quantum characteristics, which allow for the engineering of the band-gap structure, make them very suitable in optoelectronics applications. In addition, nanowire also offer advantages in thermoelectric cooling or power generation devices due to improved thermoelectric behaviors.

The team has developed a platform technology for designing silicon wires of nanometer dimension into devices that can be produced using CMOS manufacturing techniques. This breakthrough potentially enables the translation of much research around the world in nanoscience and nanotechnology, into devices that can be engineered and manufactured cost effectively in many application areas. They have also demonstrated the application of this technology in novel transistor architectures and in highly sensitive biochemical sensors. In particular, the application of this technology to a novel transistor architecture that stacks multiple nanowire channels vertically has been recognized by the international research community through the 2007 IEEE George E. Smith Best Paper Award, an award given to the most significant result in the field that is published by the IEEE in their Journal Electron Device Letters in any given year.