Western Institute of Nanoelectronics launched

The University of California, Berkeley; UCLA’s Henry Samueli School of
Engineering and Applied Science; UC Santa Barbara; and Stanford University are
teaming up to launch what will be one of the world’s largest joint research
programs focusing on the pioneering technology called "spintronics."

The Western Institute of Nanoelectronics’ administrative headquarters will
be located at UCLA Engineering, with scientific and technical responsibilities
for the program distributed across all four campuses.

UCLA Engineering professor Kang Wang will serve as director of the
institute, working closely with co-principal investigators David Awschalom at UC
Santa Barbara, Jeff Bokor at UC Berkeley, and Philip Wong at Stanford. All of
the nearly 30 eminent researchers taking part in the institute will explore
critically needed innovations in semiconductor technology. The program will be
co-managed by the four participating campuses and the semiconductor industry
sponsors, with nearly 10 researchers from the semiconductor companies working
with students and faculty on all of the university campuses. This close
collaboration, with research and responsibilities shared by four campuses and
six industry sponsors, represents an innovative model for cooperative

"With this new institute, we are talking about an unprecedented opportunity
to help define a technology that can exploit the idiosyncrasies of the quantum
world to provide key improvements over existing technologies," Wang said. "As
rapid progress in the miniaturization of semiconductor electronic devices leads
toward chip features smaller than 65 nanometers in size, researchers have had to
begin exploring new ways to make electronics more efficient.

"Simply put, today’s devices, which are based on complementary metal oxide
semiconductor standards, or CMOS, can’t get much smaller and still function
properly and effectively. That’s where spintronics comes in."

The Western Institute of Nanoelectronics (WIN) has been organized to
leverage what are now considered the world’s best interdisciplinary talents in
the field of nanoelectronics. Its mission is to explore and develop advanced
research devices, circuits and nanosystems with performance beyond conventional

The researchers agree that the fundamental limits of CMOS technology will
be reached in 10 to 15 years. "The semiconductor industry is facing a huge
challenge, which is to come up with a technology successor for CMOS," said
Bokor, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science who is heading
UC Berkeley’s participation in the project. "That seems like a long way off. But
since the next technology has still not been invented, in a sense we are already

"What’s exciting about the WIN program is that these semiconductor
companies are placing a large bet on our university team to come up with the
needed innovation. This new model for research collaboration will greatly
facilitate getting our research results into the industry for development much
more readily and quickly than has been the case in the past. If we are
successful, the consequences could be enormous."

UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau said he was "delighted" that
through CITRIS – the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest
of Society that is headquartered at UC Berkeley – the campus is joining UCLA, UC
Santa Barbara and Stanford to establish the institute.

"My students and I did extensive research on quantum spin magnetism, which
is the fundamental basis for spintronics," he said. "I am very excited that this
promising area for next-generation electronics will be featured in the work of
the institute. I am sure that WIN will help secure California’s leadership in
developing these important new technologies."

Spintronics relies on the spin of an electron to carry information and
holds promise in minimizing power consumption for next-generation electronics.
Information-processing technology has relied so far on charge-based devices,
ranging from vacuum tubes to million-transistor microchips. Conventional
electronic devices simply move these electric charges around, ignoring the spin
that tags along for the ride on each electron. Spintronics aims to put that
extra spin action to work — effectively corralling electrons into one smooth
reactive chain of motion.

The institute is being established with starting grants of $18.2 million:
an industrial support total of $14.38 million and a matching $3.84 million UC
Discovery Grant from the Industry-University Cooperative Research Program, which
seeks to strengthen California’s research-and-development economy in partnership
with California research-and-development companies. The $18.2 million includes
$2.38 million from a Nanoelectronics Research Initiative grant funded by six
major semiconductor companies — Intel Corporation, IBM Corporation, Texas
Instruments, Inc., Advanced Micro Devices, Inc., Freescale Semiconductor, Inc.
and MICRON Technology, Inc.

The $18.2 million also includes an additional Intel grant of $2 million.
The institute will also receive a $10 million equipment grant from Intel. These
grants will ensure that long-range research is properly resourced to address the
need for semiconductor technologies beyond complementary metal oxide
semiconductors. Funds will be distributed over a four-year period.
Infrastructure and personnel support from the participating universities is
estimated to exceed $200 million.

Hans Coufal, director of the Nanoelectronics Research Corp., which has been
chartered to implement the Nanoelectronics Research Initiative, said, "The
participating companies are delighted to closely engage with some of the best
scientists in this field and to provide support for their research towards the
common objective, to extend Moore’s Law for many more years to come." (Moore’s
Law refers to the prediction made in 1965 by Gordon Moore, one of Intel’s
founders, that innovative research would allow for a doubling of the number of
transistors in a given space every year. In 1975, he adjusted this prediction to
a doubling every two years.)

A portion of the institute will be housed in new laboratories within the
new California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI) buildings currently under
construction at UCLA and UC Santa Barbara. Members of the new institute will
also take advantage of the Center for Spintronics and Quantum Computation, a
CNSI research organization with coordinated scientific programs spanning
universities around the world. The institute will use new infrastructures and
laboratories at all the participating universities, including those at UC
Berkeley’s CITRIS and at the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network at
both Stanford and UC Santa Barbara.

Intel fellow Paolo Gargini, director of technology strategy and chair of
the Nanoelectronics Research Initiative Governing Council said, "The
long-standing partnerships that Intel has with California’s great institutions
of higher learning and research made it logical to team up with them in this new
consortium to establish a West Coast platform for exploratory science feeding
into industry research and development.

"It is critical that we look farther out in such research to lay the
groundwork for continuing Moore’s Law, which is the foundation for the robust
growth of our industry and the key role it plays in the economies of California
and our nation. We appreciate the universities dedicating their pre-eminent
intellectual capital and facilities to the effort, and the support of UC
Discovery in helping to address the funding required to maintain leadership in
semiconductor technology and manufacturing."

On behalf of UC Discovery Grants, Susanne L. Huttner, associate vice
provost for research and UC’s executive director of the Industry-University
Cooperative Research Program, said the new institute "takes California another
big step ahead of the competition in other states. The joint investment we are
making with companies doing research and development in California and the
Nanoelectronics Research Corporation is positioning the state for world
leadership in emerging markets for nanoscale materials and