ATIC Cleanroom at Masdar Institute Fully Operational

Researcher in ATIC Masdar CleanroomThe ‘ATIC Cleanroom at Masdar Institute’ became fully operational this week, significantly enhancing Abu Dhabi’s competitive semiconductor research capability. Built as a part of a broader research and academic collaboration between the Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC) and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, the facility provides the ultra-clean environment and photolithography tools needed for advanced microelectronics research and small-scale production.

“This facility is a strong asset to research in advanced technology, and the only such cleanroom in the GCC, ” said Sami Issa, Executive Director at ATIC. “The research taking place in this cleanroom is guided by targeted industry and academic collaboration, playing a key role driving technology development while laying the foundations for a thriving research hub in the region. This facility is also an excellent example of what can be accomplished from the focused collaboration of organizations committed to our Emirate’s development.”

Dr Fred Moavenzadeh, President, Masdar Institute, said: “The cleanroom facility reiterates our ongoing research collaboration with ATIC, one of our key stakeholders. With the support of the UAE’s leadership, Masdar Institute continues to offer new avenues for fostering specific skills of students in the semiconductor industry. We believe the facility will contribute further to strengthening Abu Dhabi’s knowledge capital in the high-technology sector.”

Up to 10,000 times cleaner than a medical operating theater, cleanrooms are critical to maintaining the sterile environment needed for semiconductor manufacturing. Research in the facility can occur on parameters over 1,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair, requiring advanced techniques to keep microscopic particles out of sensitive equipment.

The cleanroom facility supports ATIC and Masdar Institute’s larger research initiatives, including Twin Labs, the ATIC-SRC Center of Excellence for Energy Efficient Electronic Systems (ACE4S) and broader research towards Minimum Energy Electronic Systems (MEES).

Backed by ATIC and the State of Saxony, Germany, and hosted jointly by Masdar Institute and Technische Universität Dresden, Twin Labs has already achieved marked progress towards researching three-dimensional chip stacking, a potentially faster and more energy efficient semiconductor technology. According to some analysts, 3D architecture has the potential to reduce semiconductor power consumption by upwards of 60% when compared to today’s 2D layouts.

Launched in April this year and hosted jointly at Masdar Institute and Khalifa University, ACE4S focuses on energy efficient devices with research in energy harvesting, power management, sensor technologies and wireless communications networks. Within the first three years, ACE4S will seek to produce integrated prototypes with healthcare applications as well as knowledge and research relevant to safety and security, aerospace, water quality and the environment. These innovations will contribute towards what Global Information Inc predicts to be an AED 24 billion bio-MEMS market by 2018.
Supporting many of the cleanroom’s research streams, GLOBALFOUNDRIES supports design enablement, deploying design-for-manufacture tools for leading-edge research on 28nm. GLOBALFOUNDRIES also supports larger scale tape-outs to their Fab 1 facility in Dresden, Germany.

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