1 February 2011

IMEC and Coventor collaborate on SiGe MEMS + IC design and manufacturing

Nanoelectronics research center IMEC of Leuven, Belgium and Coventor Inc of Cary, NC, USA, which provides automated design software tools for micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS), have announced a strategic partnership to improve and expand the use of design and manufacturing techniques for the development of CMOS-integrated MEMS.

The partnership includes strategic alignment on R&D roadmaps and collaboration on advanced research topics. Teams at IMEC and Coventor will collaborate on expanding IMEC’s use of Coventor’s software tools suite for MEMS + IC design. They will also jointly develop process design kits (PDKs) for IMEC’s silicon germanium (SiGe) MEMS-above-IC process.

Building on both organizations’ success with MEMS design and manufacturing, the partnership aims to develop solutions to make MEMS more accessible to both MEMS and IC designers. PDKs will be developed to improve the efficiency of MEMS–IC co-design. The kits will target IMEC’s SiGe MEMS technology that uses a MEMS-last approach, where the MEMS are processed after and on top of the CMOS circuits, enabling monolithic integration of MEMS devices with the driving and readout electronics on the same die. The SiGe MEMS platform’s flexible and modular approach also allows application-specific tuning and optimization of MEMS layer thicknesses and properties, and the processing of optional functional layers on top of the MEMS devices.

The partnership will leverage Coventor’s background in developing the necessary infrastructure for MEMS design environments. The firm’s design tools have been production proven on hundreds of MEMS designs over the past 15 years. Recently, it introduced a new product line, MEMS+, aimed at integrating MEMS design with mainstream IC design environments. Also, IMEC has a SiGe MEMS process that allows monolithic integration on top of standard CMOS.

“More and more product developers from a wide range of industries look to integrate MEMS because of their powerful capabilities,” says Rudi Cartuyvels, IMEC’s VP Process Technology. “IMEC is well positioned to address this market through its CMORE initiative, which seeks to expand the scaling of CMOS micro- and nano-devices by adding functions other than logic and memory to chips,” he adds. “By partnering with Coventor, we gain access to years of production experience and technology for MEMS design, and a breadth of expertise in developing a larger ecosystem for MEMS developers,” Cartuyvels concludes.

“Coventor’s strategy revolves around the ‘democratization’ of MEMS, which is about eliminating the obstacles and challenges in the way of more widespread adoption of these devices,” says Coventor’s CEO Mike Jamiolkowski. “By applying the talent and resources of one of the world’s most prestigious semiconductor research institutes, our partnership with IMEC will help do that,” he reckons. “Together, we can develop more efficient and practical approaches to MEMS development that meet the demanding requirements of markets and applications that have yet to leverage the vast potential of MEMS.”

See related items:

IMEC’s CMORE service extended with SiGe-MEMS foundry and MPW runs


Visit: www.imec.be

Visit: www.coventor.com

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