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Universités et écoles d'ingénieurs

Published on 22 October 2018

Highlights from our Latest Interviews 

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (Switzerland) 

“The technical quality of the people at Leti is extremely high” said Carlotta Guiducci, Professor of Life Sciences Electronics  (EPFL).

“They have large teams of people who are top-notch scientists in microelectronic and nanoelectronic technologies—and this is quite exceptional, even on a worldwide level.” 
EPFL and Leti have been collaborating for ten years on a variety of projects, including most recently, the European Research Council (ERC) project called Design and Elaboration of Multi-Physics Integrated Nanosystems (DELPHINS), which began in 2009.

The goal of DELPHINS is to build a generic multisensor design platform for embedded multi-gasanalysis-on-chip. A wide range of applications will be impacted by this project, including medicine (recognizing specific diseases), environmental protection (spotting toxic and complex air pollutants), perfume & fragrance, and agribusiness.

Prof. Guiducci and Leti are studying nano-sized sensors, technologies that hold great promise for obtaining the resolution and sensitivity required to quantify specific DNA molecules by means of integrated electronic chips with minimal sample preparation. The partners have already demonstrated that nanowires outperform the sensing performance of standard electronic sensors. 

“Leti has technologies at standard levels used in industries,” said Dr. Guiducci. “At the same time they have more forefront technologies, taking things one step forward. For a technological partner, these are very precious assets. Innovation in micro and nanoelectronics needs to be designed and proven in collaboration with partners who own the technology at the state-of-the-art, and at the same time, are driven by a scientific mission

Télécom Bretagne 

From Basic Research to the IoT: '‘Really Good Work and First Application of the Theory’'.

Prof. Claude Berrou from the Graduate School Telecom Bretagne teamed up with Leti researchers on a PhD project that built on the school’s work in artificial neural networks. Their innovation, which enables power efficiency on a small silicon footprint suitable for Internet of Things applications, demonstrated that features of neural clique networks can provide quick, optimal power management in electronic devices.

Prof. Berrou, who previously developed a new family of quasi-optimal error-correction codes called turbo codes, said Leti’s expertise and its emphasis on applications make it a top institute for visiting researchers.

“I am deeply interested in applications for research,” he explained. “Previously in France, technology was not considered important for academic researchers. But this has changed now, and academics are increasingly looking at applied science and technological applications.” 
Leti shares this vision and opens its doors to scholars interested in putting basic research to work to improve people’s lives.  

I’m very pleased with the experience of this project at the scientific level. It was really good work and the first application of the theory,” Prof. Berrou said. “We had several publications, and thanks to these, we proved the importance and the success of our theories.”

CNRS Research Laboratoire des Technologies de la Microélectronique

"One of the things that makes Leti unique in Europe is that they have all the facilities you need for performing highlevel research in nanotechnology and characterization,” says Thierry Baron, research director of CNRS, and director of Laboratoire des Technologies de la Microélectronique (LTM).

LTM was created in 1999, by the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and Université Grenoble Alpes (UGA), to promote collaboration in nanotechnologies with Commissariat à l’Énérgie Atomique (CEA). The partnership between LTM and Leti was strengthened through collaborative work in the frame of several European projects and industrial partnerships, on topics like new etching chemistry, advanced processes for nanomaterials, self-assembled nanowires, and most recently microfluidics and nanotechnologies applied to health care.

“With Leti’s 200 mm and 300 mm clean room, research is done on production tools, using the same facilities that you’d have in industry,” said Doctor Baron. “Since you use the same facilities that you’d have in industry, you can tackle the main challenges of IC and manufacturers’ companies from the start.” 
Dr. Baron said, “The technological aspect is huge with CEA-Leti. The reactivity is very good. They’re always willing to take things a step further and to move the innovation to industry. They always look at how to transform research into products. This is unique in France in this field, and very rare in the world.”

CNRS Research MEP-LAHC Laboratory

“Leti is very well positioned on a worldwide level in advanced technologies,” said Gérard Ghibaudo, CNRS research director at the Institut de Microélectronique, Electromagnétisme et Photonique (IMEPLAHC Laboratory, Grenoble, France).

Leti has been collaborating with IMEP for more than thirty years on a variety of European projects, dealing with miniaturization of nano-devices (including CMOS and memories) and they have shared hundreds of PhD students exploring the most challenging physics and characterization challenges of these new devices.  

In 2016, Dr. Ghibaudo worked together with Leti on research around the variability and reliability of fully depleted silicon on insulator (FD-SOI) and nanowire devices, with a special focus on studying defects in these devices. The technical goals of this most recent project were to identify the critical reliability mechanisms of these key technologies, looking at the impact of electrical defects on device behavior and reliability. Statistical models able to explain and predict the device behavior were developed, based on advanced characterization, metrology and physical considerations.

As a result of this recent research, Leti and IMEP significant improved metrology techniques, making it possible to study devices at near atomic level and to model both the electrical behavior of the device and the influence of the process steps on device performance. New questions were also raised thanks to this research. For scaled-down devices, the behavior is more dispersed, and statistical studies are mandatory. Those devices operate at lower voltages, so that new physical phenomena arise which should be addressed with greater precision. The collaborators continue to work together to address new challenges stemming from miniaturization, new materials and novel architectures.

Leti has also been collaborating for several years with Dr. Ghibaudo on emerging memory concepts. In particular, the partners have been deepening their understanding of Resistive RAM (RRAM) to analyze device performance and reliability thoroughly, and increase the maturity of this technology. Dr. Ghibaudo is a renowned expert on dielectric reliability and device modeling. His expertise is helping to clarify the experimental results obtained on innovative RRAM processed in Leti’s cleanroom. A topic addressed by this collaboration concerns RRAM failure during cycling. RRAM dielectric breakdown is identified as the origin of endurance collapse when a too high programming voltage is applied. Thus, to describe this failure, physics of oxide breakdown was implemented in RRAM models. This statistical approach allowed to quantify RRAM reliability at the array level, a necessary step before technology industrialization. 

“We are very lucky to be associated with Leti, and to benefit from their advanced technology and devices,” said Dr. Ghibaudo. “They have world class expertise in a number of technologies that go beyond standard CMOS and the association with our characterization and physical knowhow is very successful.”