The Intel Technology and Manufacturing Research Team in Ireland has a mission. Its dedicated researchers believe that Ireland will be a leader in technology and manufacturing research, so they collaborate with research institutes, universities and other companies across Europe to make this happen.
Current areas of investigation for the team include: semi-conductor manufacturing (such as advanced process control and energy efficiency) and nanotechnology (including research into nano-materials synthesis and integration, nano-photonics and silicon spintronics).
Much research takes place in Ireland, at organisations including:
Under the direction of Leonard Hobbs, the Intel Technology and Manufacturing Research Team in Ireland makes use of internal Intel Ireland groups as well as Intel-funded research in Irish and European Universities. Research is secured through Corporate Affairs Group’s Higher Education & Research programme (in partnership with the Irish Government Agency IRCSET).
The Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices, or CRANN, is a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI)-funded Centre for Science and Engineering Technology. CRANN is made up of academic and industry partners from Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork, Intel, Hewlett Packard and a number of small to medium-sized enterprises. Intel was a founding member of CRANN in 2004 and continues to play a major part in the centre’s success.
CRANN is based in a 6000m2 five-story building on the north-west corner of the Trinity College campus. It provides state-of-the-art nanoscience laboratories, together with a public science gallery. The world class scientific leadership in CRANN is provided by 16 principal investigators who conduct the work of 130 scientists and students. Irish Government investment in CRANN since 2001 has been €140m. A further €24m has been awarded for 2009-2014.
Research carried out at CRANN includes: alternative patterning techniques using self assembly; new memory structures using advanced magnetic layers; breakthrough methods for creating contacts to silicon; and applications for carbon nanotubes in interconnect technology.
The Tyndall National Institute is one of the largest information and communications technology (ICT) hardware research centres in Europe. Tyndall was established in 2004 to bring together researchers from the former National Microelectronics Research Centre (NMRC), University College Cork (UCC) and Cork Institute of Technology (CIT).
The institute specialises in research into photonics, electronics, materials and nanotechnologies, and their applications for life sciences, communications, power electronics and other industries. Research programmes range from theoretical modelling and design to novel material, nanotechnology, device processing and fabrication, packaging and integankration, plus novel systems incorporating these new devices.
Tyndall employs more than 365 engineers and research scientists and has an operating budget of more than €30 million per annum. The research centres are supported by a strong theory, modelling and design centre, and a wafer fabrication facility with CMOS, III-V and MEMS capability. Many of Tyndall’s PhD graduates go on to pursue careers in industry and are respected for the quality of their research and development outputs. Currently Tyndall is host to 105 PhD students and 11 Masters students, with Intel sponsoring over 20 projects. Of particular note is the SFI-sponsored Strategic Research Cluster, called FORME or functional oxides and related materials for electronics, which Tyndall National Institute coordinates.
The Intel Technology and Manufacturing Research Team in Ireland has engaged in the European Framework Programme (FP) for Collaborative Research since 2006. The team works with partners from throughout the European Union in the fields of nanotechnology and manufacturing, researching options for the new materials, materials characterisation and manufacturing-control activities that will fill and shape our factories in the future.
Projects include: the investigation of carbon nanotubes as a possible material for future manufacturing; the use of the electron’s ‘spin’ instead of ‘charge’ to carry computing information; and the use of light instead of ‘charge’ to increase the speed of data transfer between computer chips and boards. It’s all co-funded through the European Union’s FP for Research and Technological Development within the Co-operation and People programmes.
Research in Manufacturing is led by Barry Kennedy, and sponsored by Joe Foley, Ireland Fab Operations (IFO) Factory Manager. It centres on progressing research in areas of interest to Intel core manufacturing.
These include: process control (to enable higher manufacturing yields at lower cost); operations research (to improve cycle time performance); factory information and control (including factory-equipment diagnostics and energy management); and harvest programme (connecting with small companies and research institutes across Europe to harvest near-ready solutions for manufacturing control).
In its Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation (2006-2013), the Irish Government proposed the establishment of Competence Centres to address the “key issue of building and reinforcing areas of strength within both industry and the academic sphere and ensuring that these are highly networked with each other”.
Competence Centres are funded by the Investment and Development Agency (IDA Ireland) and Enterprise Ireland (EI). They are collaborative entities established and led by industry, and resourced by highly-qualified researchers from research institutions who undertake market-focused strategic research for the benefit of industry. In partnership with other high-tech companies based in Ireland, the Intel Technology and Manufacturing Research Team has taken a leadership role in establishing three Competence Centres in Ireland. These are: