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8 December 2016

EU DEEPEN device modelling project wraps up with workshops

The Internet's carbon footprint is already larger than the entire aviation industry, as the volume of Internet traffic increases exponentially every year, requiring increasing amounts of energy to fuel communications. From smartphones to electronic devices, the underlying technologies, infrastructure and energy needs will not be sustainable in the medium to long term.

This challenge has been a key focus of scientists involved in the three-year project DEEPEN (from atom-to-Device Explicit simulation Environment for Photonic and Electronic Nanostructures), which comes to an end in December. Findings of the DEEPEN project are being shared at workshops in Cork, Ireland this week.

Funded by a €2.69m contribution under the European Union's Seventh Framework Program (EU FP7), the €3.82m DEEPEN project (from January 2014 to end-2016) was led by Ireland's Tyndall National Institute (based at University College Cork), together with partners including University of Rome 'Tor Vergata' spin-off TiberLab (Italy), Osram Opto Semiconductors (Regensburg, Germany), technology computer-aided design (TCAD) software provider Synopsys (Zurich, Switzerland) and ETH Zürich (Switzerland), UCC (Cork, Ireland) and Paul-Drude-Institut für Festkörperelektronik (Berlin, Germany).

"Each time we ask Google a question, we access a giant data center of highly interconnected computers," notes professor Eoin O'Reilly (DEEPEN project lead and Tyndall chief scientist) in advance of the workshops. "The transistors and interconnects sitting at their core are all consuming so much energy that a major design issue for data centres is how to manage the level of heat created by computer components," he adds. "Through the DEEPEN project, scientists at Tyndall are working with counterparts and industry across Europe, including Osram and Synopsys, to solve these real issues."

The focus of O'Reilly, his colleagues at Tyndall and partners in the project is to develop simulation techniques that not only leverage existing technologies and materials to dramatically enhance the capabilities of incumbent infrastructure, but can also guide the development of new materials like III-V semiconductors and 2D materials to advance future device applications and quantum computing methods.

The critical regions in existing devices can be as little as 20 atoms wide – these regions need to be treated in full detail for accurate simulation without compromising the higher-level simulation of the full device structure.

"We have been looking in DEEPEN at specific device parts at atomistic level, generating multi-scale simulations that link the atomistic behaviour to the overall device performance, and ultimately creating new open-source interfaces for developing products for the future," says O'Reilly. "Within three years, we have advanced our knowledge significantly and the DEEPEN project has had global impact, bringing together leading minds from academia and industry to generate new solutions to our current and future issues," he adds. "In short, the DEEPEN project is driving forward our capability for accurate and reliable device modelling and design, through collaboration and extensive research in modeling and computation methods for semiconductors."

The new tools developed in DEEPEN are finding direct commercial application in the future modelling tools of the project software partners Synopsys and TiberLAB. TiberLAB is hosting the open-source multi-scale software that has been developed. "DEEPEN has been of critical value to us," comments TiberLAB's CEO Dr Fabio Sacconi. "We prize the opportunity that it has given us to build and re-inforce our device simulation capabilities, of benefit not just for our products but also for the wider community through the open-source interfaces that we have developed."

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) has also funded the DEEPEN team in Ireland to build on the work of the project and combine the state-of-the-art existing methods with new methodologies, integrated within a multi-scale framework spanning from first principles to macroscopic continuum models.

Tags: Tyndall

Visit: http://cordis.europa.eu/projects/rcn/110555_en.html

Visit: www.tyndall.ie/content/theory-modelling-design

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