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ECE Distinguished Colloquium Series (ECE 500): "Novel Materials + Novel Integration = Novel Electronics"

Originating Calendar ECE ILLINOIS Distinguished Colloquium Series
Speaker Aaron Voon Yew Thean, National University of Singapore
Date: 4/26/2018
Time: 4 p.m.

Grainger Auditorium, Room 1002 ECE Building



Event Type: Seminar/Symposium

We live in exciting times where new technology convergences are emerging.  We see the next evolution of semiconductor technology amalgamates with emerging applications of IoT, machine learning, precision medicine, and wearables. Underlying these verticals are exciting innovations in material, devices and, systems at different scales and levels. The overarching objective is to improve functionality, performance, form factor, and cost of new electronics.  From semiconductor technologies to wearable technologies, new materials and their novel integration are enaabling novel electronics.

In this talk, I will first discuss some of the material trends in leading-edge semiconductor technologies base on my previous work at IMEC. We will review the role of new material engineering to enable Moore’s law driven scaling of logic and memory technologies into nanometer era of 5nm and 3nm. Among the topics, we examine the motivations for several upcoming inflections. The transition from ultra-thin FinFETs and barrier-limited wires towards Nanowires and dense barrier-free interconnects for high-performance logic. The transition from high-k metal gate FETs to possibly negative-gate-capacitance or tunnel- FETs for ultra-low energy operations. The possibility of Resistive RAMs to replace SRAMs for future neuromorphic AI chips. The advent of monolithic 3D integration that enables fine-grain logic-memory integrated 3D-ICs.

As electronics become increasingly heterogenous while the demand for lower cost, higher functionality, and demands for new form factors are calling for more innovative integration at the system level, beyond the chips.  There is an increasing opportunities for new material and integration of sensors and sensor systems. A new convergence emerges with additive-based processing and advanced system-level packaging. I will describe a new research program at NUS on flexible-hybrid electronics that investigates new applications of combining rigid semiconductor components with soft materials. Besides wearable technologies, there are new applications in RF communications, robotics, and medical technologies that such technologies can enable. I will describe some of my recent research work on wearable smart medical patches, soft energy harvesting composites, and ultra-thin matrials for flexible electronics.

Aaron Voon Yew Thean is a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Director at the Office of Deputy President (Research and Technology). Aaron founded a multi-disciplinary research program on Hybrid flexible electronics (HiFES) at NUS with 16 research teams, and several industry partners. He is also the Co-Director of Large-Area Electronics Joint Laboratory with Singapore’s A*Star SIMTech Institute, to develop next-generation flexible-hybrid electronics and applications.

Prior to joining NUS in 2016, Aaron served as IMEC’s Vice President of Logic Technologies where he led IMEC’s International path-finding research consortium with industry partners that included Intel, Samsung, TSMC, Globalfoundries, Qualcomm, Apple, and Applied Materials. There, he directed the research and development of next-generation semiconductor technologies and emerging nano-device architectures including spintronics and novel materials. 

Before moving to Europe, he had been with several US technology companies like Qualcomm, IBM, and Motorola. He had worked on technologies for System-On-Chip to advanced process technologies. At IBM, he led his team to develop the first foundry-compatible Gate-First High-k Metal-Gate Low-Power bulk CMOS technologies at 32nm/28nm. It enabled some of the most successful smart mobile devices in production like the iphone 5 and Apple watch.

Aaron graduated from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, USA, where he received his B.Sc. (Highest Honors & Graduated as Edmund J. James’ Scholar), M.Sc., and Ph.D. degrees (Class of 2001) in Electrical Engineering. He has published over 300 technical papers and holds more than 50 U.S. patents for inventions in the field of advanced electronics. He also serves as editor for the IEEE Electron device letters. He returned to Singapore in 2016 after 23 years in the advanced semiconductor industry, to pursue a career in academia with NUS.

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