Small Economy, smart Strategy: Bringing together semiconductor industry-academia, focusing on advanced technology and cultivating high-tech talents
In order to respond positively to the needs of industry and academia, the Ministry of Science and Technology has promoted the "Academia-Industry Research Alliance Project" (REAL project) since the beginning of 2017, connecting the domestic semiconductor industry and academia, focusing on advanced technology and cultivating high-tech talents. By implementing the "Small Economy, Smart Strategy" concept, maintain the leading position in the global semiconductor industry competition.
Dr. Hsu Yu-Chin, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Science and Technology, expressed that under the rapidly change of global development on industrial revolution, the battle for talents is becoming more and more serious. Through the REAL program, the Ministry of Science and Technology hopes to attract the industry to cooperate with the academia by jointly investing in technology research and developing talents’ cultivation. Today (July 3, 2019), is the publication of two professors’ research results: Professor Chen Chih’s nano-double-crystal copper wire and electroplating process technology, as well as Professor Chen Hsin’s wireless biomedical single-chip which both are expected to be implemented into next-generation high-end chip packaging, innovative medical materials and medical research.
MOST attracts more research investment from the chambers of commerce into the academia on the advance technology research.
The promotion of the REAL program has successfully led the development of semiconductor field in academia and industry in Taiwan. As of now, the Ministry of Science and Technology has cooperated with numbers of recommended chambers of commerce, for instance, Taiwan IC Industry and Academia Research Alliance (TIARA) and the Advanced Microsystems and Package Technology Alliance (AMPA), to conduct advanced technology research programs. A total of 56 advanced technology research projects in the field of IC design, wafer manufacturing, and IC packaging and testing, with a total amount 116.16 million NT dollars, supporting 8 universities to begin research alliance with the industry. Among more than 30 companies participated in this alliance and the investment up to 162.21 million NT dollars. In addition to the above mentioned investment in the research, the industry also made an additional investment of 73.12 million NT dollars in the facility and prototype testing. Ministry of Science and Technology paid one NT dollar in the research project, it attracted double NT dollars investment from the private sector in research.
MOST cultivate more talents on the semiconductor sector.
In less than two years, the REAL project has cultivated 124 doctoral talents, each doctoral talent who participated in the program received a monthly minimum monthly stipend of 30,000 NT dollars. In terms the results of the advanced technology research and development, REAL generated more than 45 million NT dollars in technology transfer and academia-industry collaborations, under the close cooperation, created estimation up to 3 billion NT dollars in the future. Those products have been attracted a lot of attention at major trade shows like SEMICON TAIWAN and COMPUTEX TAIPEI.
The technological development of Nano-double crystal copper wire, helping to break through the high-end chip packaging bottleneck
Professor Chen Chih from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, National Chiao Tung University, and his research team, developed nano-double-crystal copper wire and electroplating process technology. They have successfully electroplated nano-double crystal copper with a line width of 2 micrometers (μm) and less. This research is expected to solve the problem of thermal stress cracking of copper wires less than 2 micrometers in Wafer Level Packaging technology, and improve the toughness of thin wire width package copper wires after heating to reduce the key defects of fracturing.
Professor Chen Chih's project team has long cooperated with Tianhong Technology. The nano-double-crystal-copper which developed by the company has successfully controlled the microstructure of the electroplated copper film/wire and has great potential in high-level applications in wafer fabrication. The product was featured in the 2018 SEMICON TAIWAN exhibition, which also allowed Tianhong Technology to enter the IC supply chain as a supplier of electroplating additives. On the other hand, the cooperation with IC design company MediaTek also aims to break through the bottleneck of high-performance chip packaging and optimize wafer-level packaging technology, which will help maintain world-class semiconductor packaging industry in Taiwan.
Micro-radio biomedical diagnosis and single-chip treatment system, achieving precise neuro-control and innovative medical materials
Professor Chen Hsin, from the National Institute of Electronics of Tsinghua University, successfully integrated multi-channel neural activity recording, nerve stimulation, wireless data and power transmission into a "single miniaturized wafer system" with the world's leading wireless biomedical diagnostic single-chip. Through the implantable neural interface wafer system and the external wireless diagnosis, and the treatment controller, the risk of electrode implantation into the deep brain layer can be effectively reduced. The external controller can automatically learn the abnormal nerve activity of the brain to achieve personalized and accurate cranial nerve control. The single miniaturized wafer system and the separate back-end system architecture further changes the power supply, which reduces the difficulty and the time required for the surgery.
Professor Chen Hsin’s project team is currently working with BioPro Scientific Co. to develop “NeuLive” which won the special prize of the "COMPUTEX d&i awards" in 2019. NeuLive aims to solve the problems, for example, building large instrument, solving complicated circuit and operation of human errors. At the same time, this project hopes to further modularize with mass production, and based on the research and development results of the Ching Hua University wafer end, it will also be reflected in the health care and innovative medical materials such as wearable physiological testing and low-frequency electrotherapy, helping Taiwan's electronics industry to transform from consumer electronics products to high-profit biomedical products.
Advancing in the future: expanding Taiwan's semiconductor leadership in tomorrow's world
In the competitive future of the semiconductor industry, whether Taiwan can continue to maintain a leading position, it all depends on our active investment and unremitting efforts today. The Ministry of Science and Technology will continue to support the cooperation of industry, academia and R&D alliances, gather all the talents, and work together with every industry and education partner to win the championship in the fierce competition of emerging technology!
Dr. Chen Chih,
Department of Material Science and Engineering, Chiao Tung University
Dr. Chen Hsin,
Institute of Electronic Engineering, Tsinghua University
Ms. Chen Yiting,
Department of Academia-Industry Collaboration and Science Park Affairs
Ministry of Science and Technology