Imec opens most advanced chip research lab in the world


Today the research centre imec inaugurated its new high-tech laboratory. It concerns a dust- and vibration-free cleanroom of more than 4,000 m2, for conducting research into the future generations of chip technology.

Thanks to this ultra-modern laboratory, imec can continue to conduct research together with its partners into new methods to make microchips even more powerful, more efficient, smaller and energy-efficient, using the most advanced equipment. Research of this kind is crucial in the further evolution towards an ‘internet of everything’, a sustainable digital future.

Luc Van den hove, General Director and CEO of imec: "In 32 years, we have become the globally leading independent nano-electronics research centre. The new cleanroom will allow us to expand our position as world-renowned chip research centre and to further stimulate high-tech innovation in the Flemish and global industry."

In our digitalising world, microchips play an increasing role. Built into equipment, the environment, cars, clothing... They are contributing to more efficient and sustainable healthcare, energy, mobility, smart cities and smart industry. To realize this, increasingly powerful, energy-efficient, faster and cheaper chips are needed. The research into the technology that will make these future chips possible, shall take place in the new cleanroom.

Due to the nanoscale dimensions (a nanometre is one millionth of a millimetre) of the chip's parts, they have to be produced in a dust-free and vibration-free space. A dust particle falling on a chip equals the impact of a meteorite on a city. The cleanroom has been made vibration-free by 831 concrete piles 18 m deep in the ground and a wafer slab, a concrete mass of 4,000 m2 with a thickness of 0.9 m.

The new cleanroom complies with the newest standards in the chip fabrication industry and will make use of the most advanced equipment. The total investment in the building and the equipment is more than 1 billion euro.