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Date: 04-05-09

IIT Mumbai and Infineon together deliver high voltage functionality in CMOS devices

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mumbai and Infineon are working together in CMOS VLSI design from 2007 onwards. They have reached a major milestone in integrating high voltage functionality in CMOS semiconductor devices. Making the CMOS devices to work at low voltages is less challenging than making them work at high voltages or to withstand very high voltages. IIT has proved its academic excellence by working on tougher challenge.

Both Infineon and IIT Mumbai are working together in the areas of IO device design and multi-gate MOSFETs for the sub 45 nm node CMOS VLSI technologies.

Both claim this achievement of enhancing high voltage capabilities of CMOS is a major break-through. Through their research they were able to explain the mechanisms behind electrostatic discharge (ESD) events in high voltage FET devices. Weak ESD robustness against exposure to high ESD stress at the end-user side had been a roadblock for the construction of high voltage interfaces at 10 V and beyond in advanced CMOS technologies. The insight into the physics of the high voltage devices now allows the optimization of the layout of high voltage IO devices.

Based on this, high voltage functionality ranging from USB interfaces to high voltage line drivers can be integrated into "system-on-chip" solutions in 45 nm CMOS and below. The results were presented at the International Reliability Physics Symposium 2009 at Montreal in April and at the International Electron Device Meeting in December 2008.

Dr. Harald Gossner, Senior Principal Engineer, who represents ESD research activity at Infineon stated that this is indeed one of finest examples of academia-industry interaction which has resulted in a substantial value addition to the two collaborating partners. "This collaboration has been very helpful to us in understanding the complex nature of some of the existing device reliability issues, and the solutions proposed significantly improve our products", Dr. Gossner said. "The high quality of the graduate students at IIT Bombay and their academic preparation has definitely been an asset to this project" he added.

Dr. Rajiv Jain, Managing Director, Infineon Technologies India, said, "This project shows Infineon's strong commitment to semiconductor innovation in India. In our Bangalore centre we are working on critical products in the areas of automotive electronics, broadband, mobile communications and secured chip cards. There is great potential for synergies with high caliber institutions like the IIT-B and I look forward to many more such innovations."

Prof. V. Ramgopal Rao, who is leading this effort from IIT Bombay, said that this collaboration has been extremely helpful in exposing them to challenging real world industry problems, and has provided them a chance to closely interact with one of the world's leading semiconductor companies. "Though we have been interacting with many semiconductor industries for a long time now, this interaction with Infineon is particularly different because of the immense trust Infineon had in our capabilities and the information that they were willing to share. Since the industries in the semiconductor business survive on their intellectual property (IP), it was important for us to realize the value of IP, and we sometimes had to go that extra mile in educating our students specifically on these aspects. We are happy that this interaction between IIT Bombay & Infineon is turning out to be a win-win situation for both the parties involved", Prof. Rao stated.

Prof. Devang Khakhar, Director, IIT Bombay, added that the institute accords considerable importance to such interactions with the industry and that it particularly wishes to strengthen such collaborations as it provides the students an opportunity to conduct directed research. "We are happy that investments we have recently made in strengthening the Nanoelectronics activities at IIT Bombay are really bearing fruit. We have world class research activities taking place in the Centre for Excellence in Nanoelectronics, and the new development is a testimony to the quality research being done", he said.

There are currently 4 Ph.D. students supported by Infineon under this collaboration at IIT Bombay, including regular visits by these students to Infineon headquarters for internships.

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