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CEA-Leti realigns research focus: FD-SOI takes centre stage

Posted: 30 Jun 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share


Another critical element, Leti's Michallet said, is timing. He noted that Leti isn't just selling dreams. "We need to bring a dream to reality and deliver on time." As he likes to say, "Before the time, it's not the time. After the time, it's no longer the time."

Let's micro- and nanotechnology research activities Leti are deep and wide. One of Semerai's first big projects as CEO was to bring orders to a vast array of its research projects by identifying 10 key domains where Leti needs to stay, build its vision and develop business.

10 key areas

Those 10 areas include: advanced microelectronics, sensors, lighting/display, medical, high-performance computing, imaging, IoT, RF, energy and security.

"We want to offer global roadmaps that are clear to Leti and clear to our customers," said the CEO. Among the top ten, however, IoT doesn't seem to belong, EE Times suggested, because it implies more diverse applications in various technologies.

Semeria said that IoT demands a set of particular needs such as low power and network connectivity. Noting that IoT represents an ecosystem of partners often different from those in high-performance computing, she believes that having a separate domain in IoT makes sense. She added, "IoT is a vibrant segment with lots of small companies" whose needs are also different from big industrial partners.

Will the number of 10 key areas change over time?

Of course, she said. "The world around us is constantly changing. When we see a project reaches a critical mass, such as at least 30 people engaged in developing a demonstrator, we will consider adding a new key area." In fact, the 11th key area of focus is currently in discussion, she said.


A little funicular cabin, ISO 6 clean room inside, shuttles between labs at CEA-Leti. (Source: Vepres Constructions)

The biggest challenge Semeria is now posing to heads of those key projects at Leti is, "Talk to players in the ecosystem from the very beginning. You don't need to sell anything to them, but go out and meet with them, and understand what their real needs are."

Leti also refreshes its blood often. With 350 PhDs and post docs constantly present and working at Leti, it keeps its energy and enthusiasm high. Leti's researchers are there "to support and educate them, and activate their imagination," said Semeria. One of the best recent examples is CoolCube. Its original idea came from Perrine Batude, a research engineer in the Electronics Nanodevices Laboratory at CEA-Leti, when she was a PhD student at Leti. Today, Batude is leading the 3D sequential integration project at Leti.

Leti is also hiring genuine experts in specific industry fields to advance its projects with clients. Pick any Leti manager. Most likely his background includes having worked for IBM Microelectronics, Altera, or a big system company.

- Junko Yoshida
??EE Times

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