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N°29 I quarterly I APRIL 2013 CNRS Networks | 37 Engineering The Franco-Spanish LIA WIDE-Lab, which has just celebrated its first anniversary, provides a unique opportunity to meet pressing industrial needs. Pooling Resources in Microelectronics by Ev a Zadeh Driven by common scientific interests and a long-standing collaboration, French and Spanish researchers officially joined forces in January 2012 and set up the WIDE-Lab,1 an International Associated Laboratory (LIA) specialized in integrated systems. “We wanted to create new opportunities for European research in this field,” explains Dominique Tournier, who initiated the project at the Ampère laboratory.2 Strong environmental concerns raised by transportation or energy generation and distribution, have emphasized the need for highly-efficient energy conversion systems. A requirement that entails semi-conductor materials and thermal management solutions able to resist extreme conditions, such as high voltage, high power, and high temperature. New materials like silicon carbide, gallium nitride, and diamond are suitable replacements to silicon in integrated systems. As wide bandgap materials, they can be used at high temperatures and are reasonably energy efficient. Highly specialized in this field, the three laboratories involved in the LIA (Ampère in Lyon, LAAS3 in Toulouse, and IMB-CNM in Barcelona4), were already working together. “Structuring our collaborations was only natural,” comments Tournier. Indeed, it followed two decades of informal cooperation that resulted in more than ten PhD theses, over 20 joint peer-reviewed publications, and two shared patents in 2000 and 2012. “To be more competitive at the European and international level, we needed to speed up the development and manufacturing processes,” explains Tournier. The intention was also to increase partnerships with industry including aerospace, rail, automobile, or even electricity distribution companies, which could benefit from this research. In the joint structure, the French team provides cuttingedge expertise in wide bandgap materials, innovative packaging solutions, and advanced silicon integration, while the Spanish scientists are at the forefront in power device efficiency improvements, and have access to up-to-date production facilities. One year on, the LIA has already made its mark. Researchers have worked on the design and production of a powerful high-voltage diode and have developed new integrated circuits. Through this collaboration, the researchers now control the entire design, manufacturing, characterization, and implementation of system components for high-voltage and high-temperature conditions. Besides making technological headway, the WIDE-Lab also has an academic mission. Its structure should help scientists share their methods, equipment, and knowledge to train students and encourage mobility between labs. In 2012, four joint papers were published in peer-reviewed journals and several PhD theses are currently under joint supervision. During their last meeting in November 2013 in Barcelona, more than 20 scientists involved in the WIDE-Lab discussed their research activities and scientific policy over the coming years. Their primary objective is to attract a significant number of industrial partners within three years. 01. Wide Band Gap T echnologies for Integration of Energy Efficient D evices. 02. CNRS / Ecole centrale de Lyon / INSA Lyon / Université Lyon-I. 03. Laboratoire d'analyse et d'architecture des systèmes (CNRS). 04. Instituto de Microelectrónica de Barcelona-Centro Nacional de Microelectrónica. Contact i nformation: Laboratoire Ampère, Lyon. Dominique Tournier > dominique.tournier@insa-lyon.fr 01 02 01 A step in the fabrication of an integrated power module which could be used in nextgeneration aircraft equipment and photovoltaic applications. 02 This diode, made on a 3X3 mm synthetic diamond, can operate at very high voltage. 10.000 μm © F. Thion © D . Tournier


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