Aaron Voon-Yew Thean

2023 Distinguished Alumni Award

In recognition of his interdisciplinary leadership in both academia and research, with development of semiconductor technology for nanoelectronic large-scale integration systems.

Aaron Thean

Aaron Thean

BSEE '96, MS '97, PhD '01

National University of Singapore (NUS)


Aaron Thean is a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the National University of Singapore (NUS). He is currently the Deputy President (Academic Affairs) and Provost of NUS and was previously the Founding Dean of NUS College of Design and Engineering, and the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering.  In addition, he holds several technical leadership responsibilities at the University; which includes the Director of Singapore Hybrid-Integrated Next-Generation μ-Electronics Centre, Director of Hybrid Integrated Flexible Electronic Systems research program, and Co-Director for A*Star SIMTech-NUS Joint Lab on Hybrid Flexible Electronics. From 2016 to 2018, he had also served under the Deputy President of Research and Technology of NUS as the Director of Industry Engagement & Partnerships. In 2018, he was the Director of Applied Materials-NUS Corporate Laboratory for Advanced Materials. Prior to NUS, Aaron Thean was the Vice President of Logic Technologies at IMEC. Working with Semiconductor Industry leaders like Intel, TSMC, Samsung, Global foundries, Apple, and Sony, he directed the research and development of next generation semiconductor technologies and emerging nano-device architectures. There, he managed a $50M USD annual R&D operations that included material research, process technology, and system-technology co-design. He had also brought in new consortium partners like SKHynix, Apple, and Huawei to IMEC. Prior to joining IMEC in 2011, he was with Qualcomm’s CDMA technologies in San Diego, California. There, he was leading the Strategic Silicon Technologies Group. Aaron and his group worked on Qualcomm’s 20nm and 16nm mobile System-On-Chip technologies. From 2007 to 2009, Aaron was the Device Manager at IBM, where he led an eight-company process technology team to develop the 28-nm and 32-nm low power bulk CMOS technology at IBM East Fishkill, New York, from research to risk production. The technology was transferred successfully to several foundry partners, the technologies became the Industry’s first foundry compatible Gate-First High-k Metal-Gate with novel SiGe channel Low-Power bulk CMOS technologies. It successfully enabled some of today’s most successful mobile devices by Samsung and Apple. Before IBM, Aaron was a senior scientist at Freescale Semiconductor (and Motorola) where he performed research on many novel devices.

Aaron graduated from University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, USA, where he received his B.Sc. (Highest Honors), M.Sc., and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering (Edmund J. James Scholar). He has published over 400 technical papers and holds more than 50 US patents. Among his notable recognitions, he and his IMEC team received the 2014 Compound Semiconductor Industry Innovation award for their III-V Nanodevice work. He was also recognized for his research contribution to Samsung with the 2013 Samsung Collaboration Award from the Samsung LSI EVP. Aaron was also given the 2010 Young Alumni Achievement Award from his Alma Mater, the University of Illinois, for his contribution to advanced transistor R&D. More recently, Aaron was recognized as Singapore’s National Research Foundation’s Returning Singapore Scientist. Active in local and international advanced electronics communities, Aaron is an Editor of the IEEE Electron Device Letters and he serves on several Scientific Advisory Boards that include Singapore-MIT Alliance (SMART-LEES), A*Star Institute of Microelectronics (IME), and he is Consulting Fellow to IMEC CEO.

Aaron Thean was nominated by his advisor, Prof. Jean-Pierre Leburton.

Current as of 2023.