SRC and NSF Awards $20M to Fund University Research on Nanoelectronics for 2020 and Beyond

Teams to Explore New Materials, Devices, and Architecture

Posted: Sep 19, 2011

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. - Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC), the world’s leading university-research consortium for semiconductors and related technologies, joined today with the National Science Foundation (NSF) to fund $20 million for 12 four-year grants on nanoelectronics research.

These 12 interdisciplinary research teams at 24 participating U.S. universities will contribute to the goal of discovering a new switching mechanism using nanoelectronic innovations as a replacement for today’s transistor—the foundational building block of computing technology that has driven not only the semiconductor industry, but the country’s IT-driven economy for decades.

“The search for a new semiconductor device that will provide the U.S. with a leadership position in the global era of nanoelectronics relies on making discoveries at these kinds of advanced universities,” said Jeff Welser, director of the Nanoelectronics Research Initiative (NRI) for SRC. “These schools have the talent and capabilities needed to produce critical research that helps to raise both our national competitiveness and economic progress.”

Historically, chip manufacturers could double the number of transistors on a chip at half the power for each transistor by shrinking them smaller in each new generation of semiconductor technology. Recently, it has become more difficult to continue the decrease in power needed to switch transistors off and on, choking the pace of product innovation from scaling alone. New breakthroughs ranging from basic materials science and chemistry to advanced devices and circuit architecture will be required, making the partnership between NSF and industry a natural fit for this work.

“This competition, Nanoelectronics for 2020 and Beyond (NEB), is an important component of the National Nanotechnology Initiative Signature Initiative, whose goal is to accelerate the discovery and use of novel nanoscale fabrication processes and innovative concepts to produce revolutionary materials, devices, systems, and architectures to advance the field of nanoelectronics,” said Dr. Lawrence Goldberg, Senior Engineering Advisor at the National Science Foundation. "The cooperation and support of industry in this effort through the Nanoelectronics Research Initiative of the Semiconductor Research Corporation also brings a significant perspective to the grantees' research with opportunities for mentoring of their students."

The joint NSF-NRI grants were awarded to the following projects in nanoelectronics research and can be viewed in detail at the accompanying links:

These 12 NSF-NRI joint grants expand and strengthen the commitment to this public-private partnership program, which is in its sixth year.

NSF Divisions participating in this competition are the Division of Electrical, Communications and Cyber Systems (ECCS) in the Directorate for Engineering, the Division of Materials Research (DMR) and the Division of Chemistry (CHE) in the Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences, and the Division of Computing and Communications Foundations (CCF) in the Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering,

Companies participating in NRI are GLOBALFOUNDRIES, IBM, Intel Corporation, Micron Technology and Texas Instruments. These companies assign researchers to interact with the university teams. This kind of university-industry engagement will be instrumental in order for NRI to reach its goal of demonstrating the feasibility of novel computing devices in simple computer circuits during the next five to 10 years.


The Nanoelectronics Research Initiative is one of three research program entities of SRC. Celebrating 29 years of collaborative research for the semiconductor industry, SRC defines industry needs, invests in and manages the research that gives its members a competitive advantage in the dynamic global marketplace. Awarded the National Medal of Technology, America’s highest recognition for contributions to technology, SRC expands the industry knowledge base and attracts premier students to help innovate and transfer semiconductor technology to the commercial industry. For more information, visit

About NSF

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2011, its budget is about $6.9 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives over 45,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes over 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards over $400 million in professional and service contracts yearly. For more information, visit

Dan Francisco 
The Francisco Group for SRC

Josh Chamot 
National Science Foundation