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Next-gen chip technologies

The EU is investing heavily in developing and producing semiconductor chips. How doclean room designers set the pace for next gen labs? Think Quantum to Photonics!

3D and quantum to photonics. Is the future of microchip technologies anyone’s guess? By laying the foundations now, we can build semiconductor facilities fit for 2050 where the EU is a leader in the semiconductor ecosystem. We are moving beyond Moore’s Law with chip sizes approaching mind-blowing atom-dimensions.

Preparing for next-gen chip technologies

" Miniaturisation and 3D integrations are core to new chip technology development. In the latest IPhone the microchip is only a few nanometres – we are talking atom-scale.
Eric Stuiver Sector Director, Electronics

The European Chips Act, 21 September 2023, marks a consequential moment. Europe steps out to join the semiconductor industry race. Some €15.8 trillion is expected to be invested until 2030.

2 main investement goals to strengthen the European semiconductor ecosystem:

  • Bringing high-value semiconductor chip production to Europe
  • Investing in research to develop new chip technology

The coming decades will therefore also focus on new, complementary technologies, such as 3D integration, photonics, quantum computing and the use of DNA structures. Integrating these with new, smarter computing technologies will be essential. New labs and cleanrooms should be set up for this type of research.

European Chips Act: Leapfrog Market Leaders

The dominance of Asia, particularly South Korea, Taiwan and emerging China, in chip technology and production poses a strategic challenge for Europe. By 2020, 1 trillion microchips were produced worldwide, of which only 10% came from the European Union. At the same time, dependence on these chips has increased in key industrial sectors such as cloud technology, IoT (Internet of Things), aerospace and defence.

Yet funding alone is not enough to put the EU in pole position. Specialist knowledge is needed to design facilities that are future ready. f At Deerns, we start with a walkthrough of technologies and processes within laboratories and cleanrooms together with chip producers. client. In this way, we can collectively anticipate current and possible future technologies.

Contamination control at the highest level

With further miniaturisation and future innovations, the complexity of these facilities also increases enormously, resulting in a high diversity of requirements and provisions to be made. As processes take place on an increasingly smaller scale, they are also more sensitive to external effects.

" A slight vibration feels like an earthquake at nano-level, and a tiny dust particle in space is like a meteor hitting the earth.
Eric Stuiver Sector Director, Electronics

Five nano influences a lab or cleanroom to consider:

  • Vibrations (environment, building, air)
  • Electromagnetic radiation (EMC) and interference (EMI)
  • Chemical contaminants (air, materials, gases, liquids)
  • Dust particles
  • Temperature and humidity

Towards a sustainable semiconductor industry

The smaller and more complex the semiconductor chip becomes, the more energy and operating materials are required to produce it, says Erik Renkens, Unit Director Life Sciences NL, Deerns. Many of our clients are actively pushing their sustainability goals. Regulatory compliance is top of mind,” he continues

Deerns Sustainablity Consulting experts can analyse and optimise the carbon footprint of next-gen design choices. Labs and cleanrooms are increasingly set up for reuse and recycle of water and gases.

Next-gen technologies put the spotlight firmly on cleanrooms, the surrounding ecosystems such as buildings and technical facilities. Here’s where high-quality, integrated contamination control is crucial if we are to future-proof semiconductor facilities.

Let’s talk

Eric Stuiver

Sector Director Electronics