8th ASCENT+ Newsletter – July 2023


ASCENT+ in 2023: Where are we now?
Successful ASCENT+ Workshop in Tarragona, Spain
Training for PhD students and early career researchers at Fraunhofer and CEA-Leti
New testimonials from ASCENT+ users
ASCENT+ at CEA-Leti Innovation Days


ASCENT+ in 2023: Where are we now?

The ASCENT+ Transnational Access (TA) Programme allows academics, postdocs and postgraduate students, technologists and industrial researchers and SMEs/Start-ups to access state-of-the-art infrastructure and expertise at five major European RTOs, fully funded by the EU.

In 2023, the impact of promoting the open access offer to the community undertaken by the ASCENT+ consortium has been evident. 185 formal enquiries have been received from researchers in 35 countries. This is a sign of recognisability of the ASCENT+ Programme, and demonstrates the value of hosting technical webinars and attending high-profile events to communicate the ASCENT+ offering.

83 Transnational Access projects have resulted from these formal enquiries, with 66 projects currently in progress and 17 already completed! These projects benefit over 300 researchers worldwide!

Transnational Access proposals are reviewed at the end of each calendar month, so if you would like to access the facilities in the ASCENT+ Showroom, please contact us.

The Joint Research Activities (JRAs) are progressing well and the outputs have been published in leading journals. These can be found at the ASCENT+ outputs repository. The aim of the JRAs is to enhance the ASCENT+ toolkit offering throughout the programme. Many of the offers have already improved thanks to the joint research with leading academic institutions. New offerings are scheduled to come on-line in Q3 of 2023 and will be promoted on our social media channels.

Our ASCENT+ community has also grown to include around 2000 members in over 60 countries!

Giorgos Fagas, ASCENT+ Programme Lead


Successful ASCENT+ Workshop in Tarragona, Spain

In mid-May 2023, around 70 researchers from our community gathered together with ASCENT+ colleagues for one of the most interesting events of the Spanish Spring landscape: the ASCENT+ Community Workshop on “Advanced Materials and Nanostructures for Disruptive Devices & Applications” organised jointly with the SiNANO Institute as a satellite event of the EUROSOI-ULIS 2023 conference.

The aim of this event was to discuss emerging research challenges in nanoelectronics during a full day with three sessions on:

  • Advanced Materials and Device Integration
  • Disruptive Devices
  • Future Computing

The workshop started with a session dedicated to Advanced Materials and Devices Integration, discussing first GaN IC development for power electronics applications (Urmimala Chatterjee, imec), then Chip Scale Package Solution for GaN Bridge Devices (Michael Schiffer, Fraunhofer IZM), followed by a captivating talk on Power Devices in Wide Bandgap materials and the recommendations by IRDS roadmaps More than Moore (Mikael Östling, KTH Royal Institute of Technology). This session ended with the talk of Emigdio Chávez, ICN2-Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology on Thermal, acoustic and optical properties of Si-based nanostructures and extensive questions from the attendees.

A second session on the theme of Disruptive Devices featured a talk on Pulsed laser annealing of Transition Metal dichalcogenides (Enrico Di Russo, University of Padova), followed by insights on the Electrical characterisation of 2D-channel MOSFETs (Christoforos Theodorou, CNRS). It was also the opportunity to discuss Quantum wave-based modelling of nanoscale transistors for circuit simulation (Alexander Kloes, Technische Hochschule Mittelhessen) and More than Moore applications of 2D materials (Francisco Gámiz, University of Granada).

The workshop concluded with a session dedicated to Future Computing, during which two talks focused on quantum dots, with the first presentation entitled “Integration of site-controlled quantum dots” (Emanuele Pelucchi, Tyndall) and the second one “Scaling up quantum computers with silicon quantum dots through rapid characterisation” (Mark Johnson, Quantum Motion Technologies). Afterwards, Sergio Nicoletti from CEA-Leti presented the PREVAIL project: Test and Experimentation Facility for the realisation and validation of prototype chips dedicated to Edge AI. The last talk of the workshop covered Topological Insulator Josephson Junctions integrated in superconducting Qubit circuits (Anna Schmidt, Forschungszentrum Jülich).

After the event, the participants had the possibility to further exchange thoughts on these topics and discuss new collaborations. You can consult all the presentations in open access here.


Training for PhD students and early career researchers at Fraunhofer and CEA-Leti

What if you could discover Fraunhofer facilities and benefit from advanced courses on nanotechnology? Hang around in the cleanrooms? Strengthen your skills in lithography? Let us introduce you the ASCENT+ Research Accelerator at Fraunhofer IPMS CNT and IZM ASSID in Dresden, Germany, on October 4-5! Applications are now open for this 2-day programme at one of the European leading institution in nanotechnologies!

What is the Research Accelerator?

The Research Accelerator gives early career researchers an on-site introduction to the technology/facilities available through ASCENT+. Thanks to sponsoring from ASCENT+, PhD students and early-career postdoctoral researchers can attend advanced nanoelectronics technology training courses, get better insights on nanofabrication and discover how they can benefit from the ASCENT+ offer at INL, CEA-Leti, Fraunhofer, Tyndall or imec to speed-up their own research. The Fraunhofer Research Accelerator will be over two days, at two locations with planed visits and hands on training.

PROGRAMME – Fraunhofer Ø300mm Cleanrooms – October 4th and 5th, Dresden, Germany

In this 2-day workshop, participants will have insight in the Ø300mm research cleanrooms of Fraunhofer, located in “Silicon Saxony” next to Infineon, Bosch and Globalfoundries. Fraunhofer IZM ASSID and Fraunhofer IPMS CNT bundle their competencies in the new “Center for Advanced CMOS & Heterointegration Saxony” with state-of-the-art equipment.

Day 1, Oct 4th, at Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems Center Nanoelectronic Technologies (IPMS CNT)
  • Welcome note
  • Tour: CMOS CR
  • Lithography at IPMS CNT
  • Electrical Characterisation Methods
  • Analytics & Metrology
  • Enabling Technologies for CMOS near fabrication of next generation devices
Day 2, Oct 5th, at Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration All Silicon System Integration Dresden (IZM ASSID)
  • Welcome note
  • Hybrid Bonding
  • Nanowire
  • Hetero Integration
  • Tour: BEOL/Assembly CR
Apply now and spend two days discovering Fraunhofer facilities
Research Accelerator at CEA-Leti – November 23-24

Another ASCENT+ Research Accelerator is planned on November 23-24 at CEA-Leti in France. The programme will be announced in the coming months on the dedicated page. Be sure to stay tuned!


New testimonials from ASCENT+ users

Sara Daniela Teixeira Resende, from Técnico Lisboa (Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa) in Portugal, had the opportunity to be hosted at Fraunhofer IZM and Tyndall for her PhD work. She tells us about her experience:

Photonic PDMS-based sensors for IBD detection
We were developing a photonic-based sensor on a nanoscale patterned polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) structure acting as transducer, combined with a molecularly imprinted polymer for fast and sensitive detection of calprotectin, a biomarker for inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). The sensor structure was prepared by nanoimprint lithography with a specific photonic pattern on a silicon wafer and replicating the same pattern into PDMS. The unique grating design provided PDMS photonic properties, suitable to be used as sensing layer. The polymer deposited in the trenches of the grating acts as the biorecognition element, and is key to achieve a sensitive detection of the target biomarker. We wanted to understand where in the grating the polymer is deposited (on the bottom of the trenches, on the top or on the side walls).
Characterisation of innovative sensor supports – perform topographic analysis of PDMS with grating and PDMS with grating and polymer using AFM and nanoindenter.
Clear difference between the PDMS with grating and the PDMS with grating and polymer. The topographic images showed an accumulation of the polymer on the top parts, as expected. However, even with a more appropriate tip it was not possible to measure the entire height or to see if the polymer was deposited on the trenches, since forcing the tip to go any lower would damage it.
Access provided
Access to Atomic force microscopy (AFM) at Fraunhofer IZM ASSID and Nanoindenter at Tyndall.
“I was given the opportunity to visit the Fraunhofer IZM in the beautiful city of Dresden! I learnt a lot more about Atomic Force Microscopy and analysed the substrates that I used for the construction of my photonic sensors. It was a great experience and everyone at Fraunhofer received me very well. I also did a presentation of my PhD work for all the people that were interested in learning more about photonic sensors and research in academia. I would like to express my gratitude to Laura Wenzel, whose valuable expertise in this technique made the analysis easier; and another huge thanks to Thomas Werner, for receiving me so well and taking care of all the details for this trip. It was a pleasure to be in this facility, meet all the amazing researchers and engineers, have a cleanroom tour and talk a little bit about my PhD work!”


ASCENT+ at CEA-Leti Innovation Days!

3 days face to face with the leading experts of innovation technology

CEA-Leti is one of the ASCENT+ access partners, with a wide range of world-class technology. At the end of June, CEA-Leti organised a 3-day event in Grenoble, France, dedicated to innovation, in particular sustainable electronics, semiconductors, AI applications, innovative materials … Experts, industrialists & SMEs gathered from across the globe to discuss the current and upcoming challenges in the world of technology. It was a wonderful opportunity for ASCENT+ to present our Transnational Access programme to the attendees, which is highly attractive for start-ups & SMEs who don’t necessarily have access to the technology they need to finalise a prototype or test a new technology application.

During 3 days, the ASCENT+ team provided information to the participants, with an informative presentation by Giorgos Fagas in the forum area, along with direct insights from CEA-Leti coordinator Sergio Nicoletti.

Events such as the Leti Innovation Days, hosted by our partners, are a great opportunity for the consortium to meet researchers. They learn about our facilities and can discuss directly with our ASCENT+ colleagues the scale and expertise of what is on offer.

We are planning to host similar events at other partner sites this year. Remember, you can still apply for access to CEA-Leti and their extensive suite of research facilities and valuable expertise which is funded by the EU.

Thanks to all the interested researchers who stopped by our booth to know more about ASCENT+ and, even sometimes, take up some information for their own students or colleagues!

Previous Issues:
Feb 2023 | Sep 2022 | May 2022 | Jan 2022 | Sep 2021 | Jul 2021 | Mar 2021
Jul 2019 / Apr 2019 / Jan 2019 / Oct 2018 / Jul 2018 / Apr 2018 / Jan 2018 / Oct 2017 / Jul 2017 / Apr 2017 / Jan 2017 / Sep 2016 / Jun 2016 / Feb 2016

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreements 871130 and 654384.