Enabling next gen Canadian semiconductor makers
EP&T MagazineElectronics Semiconductors Engineering Supply Chain semiconductors
Over 400 chip designs facilitated last year including fabrication of 7 superconducting designs
A semiconductor chip design for sensing pressure inside the human kidney, a chip that that harvests energy from vibrations and turns them into useful electric charges, a chip that is stretchable and self-healable designed as a wearable electronic device. These are just a few examples of over 400 microchip designs manufactured in the last year via CMC Microsystems, Canada’s facilitator of semiconductor chip design and manufacturing, continues to see a strong take up for its programs and services by researchers in dozens of start-ups and 68 universities and colleges across the country.
In total, 6,885 researchers used CMC services in the last fiscal year. In the case of research at educational institutions, this leveraged almost $30 million worth of collaborative projects with industry.
The breakdown for the year 2021 / 2022 looked like this:
- Almost 160 photonic designs – double from the previous year
- Over 140 microelectronics designs manufactured in advanced semiconductor technologies
- Over 80 designs fabricated or post-processed in laboratories
- Over 40 micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) and micro-fluidics designs
- Fabrication of 7 superconducting designs – a world first via a multi-project wafer service
- 80 designs manufactured for industry, industrial collaborators, or academics outside Canada
“Giving researchers and firms simplified access to the world’s best fabrication services is mission critical for us,” said Gordon Harling, president and CEO. “CMC is helping key sectors like semiconductors, photonics and quantum grow in Canada. These are specialty technologies set for huge growth where Canadian expertise is recognized internationally.”
In providing access to these fabrication platforms, CMC is developing the Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP) necessary for Canadian firms to compete globally for talent. CMC-trained graduates have collaborated with and worked for over 1,000 Canadian firms from start-ups and scale-ups to industry giants and make a fundamental difference in Canada’s semiconductor future.
Leading international chip makers
Via CMC, who has agreements in place with semiconductor foundries, Canadian researchers can have their chip designs manufactured and tested by the leading international chip makers. In all, CMC’s strategies focus on a supply chain ecosystem of more than 100 organizations – over 50 operating in Canada – that enables world-class industry/academic collaboration and expands support for industrial R&D.
Much has been written about the challenges surrounding domestic semiconductor manufacturing in Canada. CMC is leading the way on developing Canada’s semiconductor ecosystems with a strategic project named FABrIC – Fabrication of Integrated Components for the Internet’s Edge.
The project will build a first-of-its-kind national network to create critically needed semiconductor manufacturing capability in Canada. As the current chip shortage and global pandemic has made clear, Canada would benefit tremendously from greater domestic production capacity for crucial components used in green technologies, healthcare, biomedical devices, telecommunications and the Internet of Things (IoT).