Belgium-based Imec is leading an R&D pilot line to develop and test advanced chips in collaboration with its partners across Europe.

European semiconductor research labs including the Tyndall National Institute in Cork are set to benefit from €2.5bn funding under the EU Chips Act to develop and test the next generation of advanced chips.

Imec, a nanoelectronics and digital tech research and innovation hub based in Leuven, Belgium, will host the pilot line called NanoIC being invested into through the EU Chips Act, which was adopted by the bloc less than a year ago to boost its domestic semiconductor industry.

In a statement, Imec said it aims to establish a technology platform where European and international companies can “explore new technologies” – such as sub-2nm chips – before they are introduced into large-scale production.

Also known as beyond 2nm chips, these semiconductors are an advancement over the current 2nm chips being launched by the likes of TSMC, Intel and Samsung.

Imec said the NanoIC pilot line focused on sub-2nm chips will support diverse industries in Europe, including automotive, telecommunications and health, to develop future-proof products that leverage the latest chip innovations.

Some of the partners in the NanoIC pilot line include CEA-Leti (France), Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft (Germany), VTT (Finland), CSSNT (Romania) and Tyndall National Institute (Ireland).

The €2.5bn investment is a mix of public and private funding, including contributions from EU programmes such as Horizon Europe and Digital Europe.

“The support from the EU, the Flemish government and industry partners will enable us to not only retain our leadership position, but also pivot closer to market demands,” said Luc Van den hove, president and CEO of Imec.

“The investment will allow us to double volumes and learning speed, accelerating our innovation pace, strengthening the European chip ecosystem and driving economic growth in Europe.”

After more than a year of deliberations, the EU adopted the €43bn Chips Act after the European Council approved the regulation last July to make the bloc a world leader in chip production and research.

First proposed by the European Commission in 2022, the act aims to increase the EU’s share of global chip production from 10pc to at least 20pc by the end of the decade. Lawmakers hope this will strengthen the EU semiconductor sector to be resilient to any global supply chain issues.

Vish Gain
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