NSF and partners invest $45 million in the future of semiconductors
The U.S. National Science Foundation today announced 24 research and education projects with a total investment of $45.6 million — including funding from the "CHIPS and Science Act of 2022" — to enable rapid progress in new semiconductor technologies and manufacturing as well as workforce development. The projects are supported by the NSF Future of Semiconductors (FuSe) program through a public-private partnership spanning NSF and four companies: Ericsson, IBM, Intel and Samsung.
"Our investment will help train the next generation of talent necessary to fill key openings in the semiconductor industry and grow our economy from the middle out and bottom up," said NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan. "By supporting novel, transdisciplinary research, we will enable breakthroughs in semiconductors and microelectronics and address the national need for a reliable, secure supply of innovative semiconductor technologies, systems and professionals."
Future semiconductors and microelectronics will require a broad coalition of science and engineering talent in academic and industrial sectors to pursue holistic, "co-design" approaches that advance materials, devices, and systems integration. Co-design approaches simultaneously consider the performance, manufacturability, recyclability and environmental sustainability of such materials, devices, and systems.
The FuSe program will accelerate the development of the U.S.-based workforce and knowledge that enable innovative semiconductor and microelectronics — in direct alignment with the goals of the "CHIPS and Science Act of 2022."
The FuSe investment for Fiscal Year 2023 supports 24 research and education projects through 61 awards to 47 institutions, including eight to minority-serving institutions and seven to NSF Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) jurisdictions, and addresses three research topics:
Topic 1: Collaborative Research in Domain-Specific Computing:
- Bio-Inspired Sensorimotor Control for Robotic Locomotion with Neuromorphic Architectures Using Beyond-CMOS Materials and Devices
University of Pittsburgh
- Co-designing Continual-Learning Edge Architectures with Hetero-Integrated Silicon-CMOS and Electrochemical Random-Access Memory
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
- Efficient Situation-Aware AI Processing in Advanced 2-Terminal SOT-MRAM
Arizona State University, Duke University, Stanford University
- Enabling Photonic Computing Engines through Hetero-Integration
- Metaoptics-Enhanced Vertical Integration for Versatile In-Sensor Machine Vision
Washington University in St. Louis, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Rochester.
- A Reconfigurable Ferroelectronics Platform for Collective Computing
University of Virginia, Georgia Institute of Technology
- Retunable, Reconfigurable, Racetrack-Memory Acceleration Platform
University of Pittsburgh, Northwestern University, University of California Los Angeles, The University of Texas at San Antonio
Topic 2: Advanced Function and High Performance by Heterogeneous Integration
- Co-designed Systems for In-sensor Processing with Sustainable Nanomaterials
- Collaborative Optically Disaggregated Arrays of Extreme-MIMO Radio Units
University of California, Berkeley, Boston University, University of California Los Angeles
- Deep Learning and Signal Processing Using Silicon Photonics and Digital CMOS Circuits for Ultra-Wideband Spectrum Perception
Florida International University, Northeastern University, University of Arkansas, University of Delaware
- Electronic-Photonic Heterogeneous Integration for Sensing Above 1 THz
University of California Los Angeles
- Heterogeneous Integration in Power Electronics for High-Performance Computing
Northeastern University, Cornell University
- Indium Selenides Based Back End of Line Neuromorphic Accelerators
The Pennsylvania State University, University of Pennsylvania, Yale University
- Monolithic 3D Integration (M3D) of 2D Materials-Based CFET Logic Elements towards Advanced Microelectronic
Washington University in St. Louis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of California Los Angeles, The University of Texas at Austin
- Substrate-Inverted Multi-Material Integration Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dartmouth, University of Delaware
- Thermal Co-Design for Heterogeneous Integration of Low Loss Electromagnetic and RF Systems
Oregon State University, Florida International University, University of South Florida
Topic 3: New Materials for Energy Efficient, Enhanced-Performance and Sustainable Semiconductor-Based Systems
- GeSnO2 Alloys for Next-Generation Semiconductor Devices
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, University of Minnesota Twin Cities
- Heterogeneous Integration of III-Nitride and Boron Arsenide for Enhanced Thermal and Electronic Performance
The University of Texas at Austin, The Ohio State University, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, The University of Texas at Dallas
- High-throughput Discovery of Phase Change Materials for Co-designed Electronic and Optical Computational Devices (PHACEO)
University of Maryland, College Park, Howard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Washington in Seattle
- Interconnects with Co-Designed Materials, Topology, and Wire Architecture
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Cornell University, University of Notre Dame
- Polymer SWIR Photodiodes for Focal Plane Arrays
North Carolina State University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Precise Sequence Specific Block Copolymers for Directed Self-Assembly - Co-design of Lithographic Materials for Pattern Quality, Scaling and Manufacturing
The University of Chicago
- Spin Gapless Semiconductors and Effective Spin Injection Design for Spin-Orbit Logic
University of Cincinnati, Illinois Institute of Technology, Iowa State University, Northern Illinois University, The University of Alabama
- Ultra-Low-Energy Logic-in-Memory Computing Using Multiferroic Spintronics
In addition to significant investment by NSF, including leveraging the $200 million appropriated by the "CHIPS and Science Act of 2022" for a CHIPS for America Workforce and Education Fund, these awards will be supported in part by Ericsson, IBM, Intel, and Samsung, which have committed to providing annual contributions through NSF. (Partnership details are available in NSF FuSe solicitation 23-552.)
This public-private partnership will help to inform research needs, spur breakthroughs, accelerate technology translation to the market and prepare the future workforce through practical experiences, while addressing the growing demand for semiconductors in the U.S.
In January 2023, NSF announced the partnership with Ericsson, IBM, Intel and Samsung to support the future of semiconductor design and manufacturing. This partnership expands upon recent NSF investments to train and build a diverse semiconductor manufacturing workforce in the U.S. Since 2022, NSF has announced other semiconductor workforce development opportunities — including a partnership with the Semiconductor Research Corporation, a $10 million funding opportunity with Intel Corporation and a $10 million partnership with Micron Technology Inc.
Quotes from our partners
"Faced with rising compute demands, semiconductor innovation will be required across materials, devices, heterogeneous integration, advanced packaging and compute architectures to enable an energy efficient and sustainable full stack compute solution," said Vijay Narayanan, IBM Fellow and Strategist, Physics of AI at IBM Research. "IBM is proud to support the FuSe program's latest investment to accelerate semiconductor innovation to empower the next generation of innovators."
"The success of the CHIPS and Science Act hinges on America’s ability to create a robust and diverse ecosystem of skilled semiconductor talent. The best way to accomplish this is through public-private partnerships that provide hands-on learning opportunities with equitable access," said Dr. Richard Uhlig, senior fellow and director of Intel Labs at Intel Corporation. "The NSF FuSe program supports workforce development at all levels. In addition to advancing important research that will propel U.S. semiconductor manufacturing beyond the limits of Moore’s law, the awards announced today include meaningful collaboration with minority serving institutions and community colleges that will significantly impact technician and undergraduate education. Implementing these types of programs across the country is an incredibly powerful way to diversify the future workforce and fill the existing skills gap."
"Innovation in semiconductors is fundamental for the development of next generation communications systems. As an active contributor to and participant in NSF's Future of Semiconductors (FuSe) program, Ericsson is delighted to support 6G innovation and work force development together with leading US academia," said Erik Ekudden, Ericsson CTO.
"Helping drive American innovation and generating job opportunities are critical to the semiconductor industry," said Jinman Han, president of Samsung Semiconductor in the US. "Samsung was the first foreign company to manufacture chips in the US, and our Austin facility remains one of the largest and most advanced manufacturing sites here today. Our collaboration with the National Science Foundation is a prime example of our commitment to expanding manufacturing, research and development, and the skilled workforce within the United States. As we grow our manufacturing presence here, we look for partners like NSF that can help address the challenges at hand and drive progress in innovation while cultivating the semiconductor talent pipeline."