Semiconductors have enabled our modern world from computing to smart phones to telecommunications and advanced health care. They are the key materials underpinning virtually all the technologies needed to achieve Net Zero – creating clean energy, controlling the flow of power, enabling advanced communications and artificial intelligence, delivering transport electrification and driving revolutions in the internet of things, wearable electronics and electroceuticals.
The challenge at hand is two-fold:
- the creation of advanced semiconductor materials and platforms to enable the Net Zero Revolution;
- the development of manufacturing processes and supply chains to decarbonize the semiconductor industry.
Swansea University, through its new Interdisciplinary Research Institute the Centre for Integrative Semiconductor Materials (CISM) is helping the South Wales Semiconductor Industry address the challenges and opportunities of the Net Zero vision. CISM is part of a UK leading industrial, academic and government sector partnership called ‘Csconnected’. Swansea University’s contribution to this ecosystem is a bespoke new £50M research and innovation (R&I) facility at the Bay Innovation Campus.
The CISM facility is a state-of-the-art, industrially inspired ‘wafer-fab’ capable of processing a large range of current and futuristic semiconductor materials and devices. CISM will provide critical services such as early-stage device prototyping, but also crucially, the ability for industry partners and academic innovators to ‘scale’ device designs and platforms to the batch-stage as proof of manufacturing principle.
CISM is not just a facility, it is a collective community and a vision of the future for semiconductor innovation with the CISM team consisting of researchers from across the University, particularly the Faculty of Science and Engineering – Physicists, Engineers from all disciplines, Chemists and Materials Scientists.
Another unique feature of CISM will be the trailblazing of ‘integrative’ concepts – combining different semiconductor materials to deliver, until now, unrealised functionality. A particular focus of the CISM program will be power electronics for transport electrification and clean energy (CISM will have the UK’s only pilot line for creating advanced Silicon Carbide (SiC) power electronic components).
Furthermore, to help the sector deliver on Net Zero ambitions the Semiconductor Innovation for Net Zero (SIN_0) project will trial innovative emission reduction strategies in energy generation and storage, and resource and waste stream management. SIN_0 will not only trailblaze the decarbonisation of advanced research infrastructure like CISM, but will also de-risk the interventions that the semiconductor manufacturing industry will need to employ to reduce the carbon footprint of this critical sector rapidly and dramatically.
CISM provides a range of critical underpinning Research & Innovation services alongside bespoke Research & Development i.e., incubation for SMEs, advanced analytical and characterization, modelling and device design, process development, scaling to batch and proof-of-principle.
Along with its Csconnected partners, CISM will deliver the next generation of advanced semiconductor technology, not just for NetZero, but allied areas such as healthcare and optoelectronics.
CISM will trailblaze solution for the decarbonization of semiconductor manufacturing and indeed for reducing the emissions of advanced research infrastructure.
CISM will help train the scientists and engineers to fuel the growth of the South Wales (and UK) semiconductor industry – education and training from technical to postgraduate levels, plus apprenticeship and CPD opportunities. The South Wales semiconductor industry already provides around 2400 high paid jobs in the region, contributing £277M per annum (GVA). This is set to grow to 6500 jobs by 2030 with substantial inward investment already underway.