Thursday, November 26, 2009

EU Commission Commits $4.5 Billion for Nanoelectronics Research from 2009-2013

On 29 October 2009, the European Commission adopted the Communication "Nanosciences and Nanotechnologies: an Action Plan for Europe 2005-2009.”  The report outlines the key developments during 2007-2009 in each policy area of the Action Plan, identifies current challenges, and draws conclusions relevant to the future European nanotechnology policy. Where appropriate, for the sake of completeness and continuity, developments in preceding years are included. Detailed supporting information can be found in the accompanying Staff Working Document.

The plan commits $4.5 billion from 2009 to 2013 for nanoelectronics research and development under ENIAC. ENIAC was established in 2004 as the Technology Platform for Nanoelectronics. Its main goal was to define common research and innovation priorities to ensure a truly competitive nanoelectronics industry in Europe. To attain such an objective, ENIAC invested intensive efforts to bring together the key players in nanoelectronics research by gathering within the Platform the main European industrial groups and research organizations, setting up the ENIAC Scientific Community Council to ensure representation of Universities, and encouraging the participation inENIAC of Small and Medium enterprises through national platforms.

Nanoelectronics refer to the application of nanotechnology to semiconductor components and highly miniaturized electronic sub-systems, and their integration in larger products and systems. Semiconductors have enabled the digital revolution that has brought huge productivity gains to our economy and improvements in our quality of life. Constant innovation in the area, together with a strong industrial competition, have given rise to affordable, ever more powerful and energy-efficient computers and other digital devices, for the everyday use of all businesses and virtually all types of consumer. The pace of this digital revolution is still accelerating, enabling new applications in nearly every segment of the world economy, such as medical devices, photovoltaic energy generation, traffic management, and so on.

Current devices are manufactured using 65 nm or 45 nm processes (this dimension being the average half-pitch of a memory cell). In this sense, nanoelectronics is merely the consequence of the evolutionary path of microelectronics into the nanoscale domain. Current transistors still do not fall under the category of nanomaterials, which are produced by manipulating matter at the atomic scale. On the other hand, the properties of future devices may well be defined by interatomic interactions and quantum mechanical properties.

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