The Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC) today hosted the launch for the second round of minimum energy electronic systems (MEES) research grants at their Abu Dhabi headquarters
In partnership with the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC), the world's leading university-research consortium for semiconductors and related technologies, ATIC will support 14 research initiatives over the coming year spanning Khalifa University, UAE University, American University of Sharjah, Masdar Institute and New York University Abu Dhabi.
The grants, in addition to plans to establish an SRC managed research center in the UAE, bring ATIC’s total committed investment in local research and development to over AED 100 million since funding started in 2009.
“We are at a point where the power demands of advancing technology are outpacing the ability of batteries and power grids to keep up; research on efficient systems is critical to sustaining technology development,” said Sami Issa, Executive Director of Technology Ecosystem Development at ATIC. “These research grants have already yielded significant results, demonstrating the UAE’s globally-competitive research capability. I am confident this year’s expanded program will produce innovations underpinning continued development in microelectronics and the broader advanced technology industry.”
“These universities have demonstrated remarkable progress over the past year in an area of significant value to the semiconductor industry,” said SRC President Larry Sumney. ”SRC’s role is to bring together the world’s best business and education resources for advancement of university research. SRC member companies are enthusiastic to further engage the talent and technical potential of the UAE’s research institutions and drive continued innovations in MEES systems.“
Reviewing his team’s work from the past year, Professor Shakti Singh from Khalifa University outlined progress on bipolar transistors he calls “energy efficient smart power systems.” The systems, made from silicon carbide as opposed to silicon, are able to perform efficiently at ultra-high temperature. This drastically dials down the need for bulky cooling systems that take up tremendous amounts of energy. While refining the designs over the past year, this round of grants will enable his team to begin building and testing the robust platforms in real world scenarios.
Professor Lutfi Albasha from American University Sharjah highlighted the progress of his team on energy autonomous circuits, systems able to harvest energy from ambient radio waves such as cell phone signals, WiFi and TV broadcasts. Last year, the team unveiled a calculator able to run solely off harvested radio energy, a significant achievement highlighting the technology’s viability. While successful, that technology only operated at 8% efficiency. Looking forward, his team believes they can work towards systems operating at 40% efficiency, providing tools of real value for industries ranging defense, to infrastructure, to oil and gas.
ATIC and the SRC are hosting over 50 attendees from around the globe for an annual 3-day workshop on microelectronics and innovation. The workshop includes SRC Technology Advisory Board members, as well as professors and students from leading UAE universities.