CITC and TEGEMA join forces
PRESS RELEASE | Nijmegen, April 7, 2020 – CITC and TEGEMA join forces to develop micro-assembly processes for integrated photonics. In this collaboration, production technology and production equipment will be developed that will further accelerate the growth of integrated photonics.
“The growth of photonics is mainly hampered by the lack of standardization in back-end production of integrated photonics packages. That is why every new product demands an innovation in assembly and packaging. This leads to high costs and technological risks. By developing manufacturing processes and manufacturing equipment hand in hand through a highly flexible platform, CITC and TEGEMA reduce development risks and costs. This makes it possible to market integrated photonics products in a shorter time.” This is stated by Barry Peet, Managing Director CITC and Pierre van Lamsweerde, General Director Tegema.
Collaboration for acceleration
With CITC’s expertise in micro-electronics packaging and Tegema’s experience in high-precision alignment equipment, a strong duo is created to make it possible. A crucial part of this ambition is collaboration with other parties to accelerate this further. Other parties include product developers, packaging foundries and end users.
In order to boost this development, Sander Dorrestein, currently Project Solutions Director at Tegema, will switch to CITC on May 1, 2020. He will strengthen the CITC team and further shape the joint photonics ambitions together with the Tegema team. From June, CITC and Tegema will jointly start to approach parties to develop micro-assembly processes for integrated photonics.
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Marco Koelink, Business Development Manager CITC
March 5, 2020 – The Chip Integration Technology Center (CITC) in Nijmegen is to be officially opened on March 5, 2020. As of that day, CITC may call itself a Smart Industry Fieldlab. This status indicates that CITC is a place where industry and research organizations jointly develop, test and implement Smart Industry solutions. Additionally, Fieldlabs contribute to educational programs and public policy development.
CITC aims to fit in neatly between basic research and corporate R&D. It will be working according to the same open innovation formula as Holst Centre and Imec. Chip manufacturers, test and packaging companies, material suppliers, software developers, photonics firms and research institutions will work together on creating innovative chip integration technology.
The center officially kicks off Thursday 5 March 2020. The Smart Industry Fieldlab trophy will be presented during the opening ceremony.
Click here for the full press release (in Dutch).
November 1, 2019 – The CITC labs are almost ready to receive the first equipment. As building M on the Novio Tech Campus is a former Philips lab, its basic facilities are adequate to host CITC. Key equipment such as die-bonder, wire-bonder and ovens are made available through in-kind contribution from program participants. The equipment is currently being transferred to CITC. Other relevant equipment such as a fridge, freezers, dispense tools and 3D-AM tools are already on site.
Focus on scientific challenges
With the basic infra structure coming into place, it’s time to focus on the scientific challenges of micro-electronic packaging. There are quite a few:
- Devices miniaturise
- Power density increase material interfaces become more dominant
- Different physical domains are more intensively coupled.
On top of that, not only devices from the electrical domain are integrated in the package, CITC will also work on integrating chips from different domains such as optics.
There are a lot of challenges and opportunities ahead! At CITC we like to call this ‘Challunities’.
August 30, 2019 – Nijmegen. The Chip Integration Technology Center (CITC) signed the agreement for renting offices and labspaces at Novio Tech Campus. “The innovation center is already fully in development, yet their own workplace makes it slightly more tangible,” says Rikus Wolbers, director Novio Tech Campus. “A great step forward for the center and an exciting development for the campus.”
Bridge to the future
CITC is an innovation center for collective research in chip integration technologies that will be used for the future chip industry. “So, a logical decision of the centre to settle on campus,” according to Wolbers. “Open innovation has a key role on Novio Tech Campus. Innovation is not a one-men job, but based on the sharing of knowledge and experiences. The difference is made when you coincidentally meet someone during a collective lunch or when new pieces of information come to you at an event for professionals in high tech. Novio Tech Campus facilitates and stimulates the connection that is essential for CITC when bridging the gap between academics and market: the Bridge to the Future.”
The Nijmegen region is a flourishing ecosystem of chip companies, which arose from the region’s strong high-tech history. “Here we have worldplayers – like NXP, Nexperia and Ampleon – and smaller chip companies who are still operating internationally. That’s one of the reasons for the Business Cluster Semiconductors Netherlands to be located here. It is a network organisation for Dutch semiconductor companies and fellow initiator of CITC. The innovation center is a perfect fit and will lead to further cross-pollination. Companies and knowledge institutes are already working together in the centre, in order to establish the innovations of the future. A great addition to the regional ecosystem.”
Talent and company magnet
Being a hotspot for the latest innovations in chiptechnology, CITC is interesting to young talent. “Finding and maintaining talent is one of the great challenges of the high-tech sector. The innovation center will play a big role in recruiting and preserving talent. For students from university as well as from mbo and hbo educational levels. As a campus, we are thrilled with these developments. Young people with new ideas and a fresh view upon the world: essential for innovation and progress.”
Besides, CITC will be an important factor in attracting companies to our region and grow the ones that are already here. “The success of high-tech companies lies largely in their innovation abilities. And often they don’t have the capacity to do this all by themselves. CITC offers the solution: companies are collectively researching, meaning they can share costs and, what’s more, knowledge. CITC will have a magnetic effect to companies that want to be ahead of the curve.”
The first CITC program lines are established and with their new location they’re all set to start. From September 2, the first CITC employees will be stationed in their new offices in building M on Novio Tech Campus. Wolbers concludes: “Open for business!”
May 22, 2019 – The Chip Integration Technology Centre (CITC) has been named a candidate FieldLab by Smart Industry. Arnold Stokking, member of the Smart Industry steering committee, sees it as a stepping stone towards the definitive FieldLab status. “Nijmegen is a global leader in chip integration and packaging. All conditions to keep that place and to expand it are present. ”
“If CITC did not yet exist, it should be established immediately”, Arnold Stokking, member of the Smart Industry steering group and Managing Director of the Industry unit of TNO, jokingly says. “CITC wants to become the best chip design and packaging center in Europe. For this, all conditions are present in Nijmegen and the east of the Netherlands. Major players such as NXP, Ampleon and Nexperia work closely together with a regional network of innovative SME semicon companies. It is for good reason that the Business Cluster Semiconductors is situated on Novio Tech Campus. Together, that forms a very strong ecosystem that can also excel at an international level in the future. ”
Split and collaborate
As a former Philips employee, Stokking draws a parallel with the High Tech campus in Eindhoven. For a long time, the Philips NatLab was the only engine of innovation there. Until Philips split up and new impetus and entrepreneurship arose in many companies. “In Nijmegen you see a similar process after the division of NXP. It is buzzing on Novio Tech Campus and the surrounding area. If these companies know how to find each other, great opportunities arise. CITC can become the centre for chip integration, with a strong focus on the manufacturing industry and applications. If Nijmegen gets that well organized, they will reap the benefits globally. ”
FieldLabs produce the future
The municipality of Nijmegen and the province of Gelderland decided in November 2018 to support the CITC initiative on Novio Tech Campus with almost 10 million euros. Now, CITC – the Chip Integration Technology Centre – has received the candidate FieldLab status. Is that an important step? It certainly is, Stokking believes: “The ever-increasing integration of ICT and chips in production processes is causing radical changes in all branches of industry and production. Digitalisation changes industry into Smart Industry. FieldLabs function as breeding grounds in which innovation, implementation and training support and reinforce each other. Stokking: “We have introduced the FieldLabs as centres where companies and knowledge institutions devise, develop, test and implement new smart solutions in daily practice. It is the forward positions that show in concrete terms what is possible in the near future. Because they create and shape that future themselves! ”
Fourth industrial revolution
If CITC wants to become a real world player in chip integration, it has to pull out all the stops. That is possible, because in the area of integrating and packaging chips, Nijmegen/East Netherlands already has everything they need for taking next steps. Stokking: “It’s about the digital transformation of the industry, the 4th industrial revolution. We are now used to automation, but this is about digitalisation. Digitalisation makes information more massively and freely available, changes the layout of factories, allows products to independently collect and send data as part of the Internet of Things. We are just now starting to see what major transformations are being enabled by digitalization. ”
A good example of this development are the simulation tools that have led to a huge increase in digital twins in recent years. Stokking: “That term indicates that you are making a digital version of a specific product. Often before you make the product yourself. Take the ‘Financieel Dagblad’ (Dutch newspaper); this is made digitally in the first place and then the paper version follows. That requires a completely different way of thinking and doing, of production and logistics. Think of the digital twin in medicine, where wearables have all kinds of important data of a person digitally available and you can read at an early stage whether something is likely to go wrong so that you can make adjustments or intervene in time. ”
Top in packaging
CITC can play a leading role in that entire process of digitalisation and miniaturization. Also internationally. The message: make sure you have the ‘smaller’ things arranged, so that you can think ‘big’. Stokking: “Nijmegen is already a world leader when it comes to packaging, the packing and stacking of chips so that they can be produced and delivered more compact, smarter and with more functions. That now applies to electronic chips, but is certainly also a challenge if the step to photonics is made. It requires new design processes, experts and teachers who need to be trained on the job.”
He continues: “And it requires cooperation between the semicon companies, which must be encouraged and facilitated by neutral parties such as the municipality, province and government. In an open environment where startups feel comfortable and collaboration is just as obvious as competition. Wherever other important companies would like to come, because they realize that they would otherwise miss the boat.”
When such developments come together, the status of FieldLab is more than justified. Stokking: “The fact that the CITC has acquired the candidate status is of course also because we expect that the step to a real FieldLab can actually be made. We look at the candidate status as a great and stimulating step forward.”
March 18, 2019 – In the past months, CITC created a vision document on Talent Development. Input was gathered through meetings with several stakeholders like regional educational institutes, commercial training companies and the involved semicon organizations.
These insights resulted in four focus areas for CITC:
- Attract (and retain!) talent to the region
- Become the bridge between education and a career in the semicon industry
- Continuously educate new talent and experienced people who already work in the industry
- Connect the regional education partners to the regional semicon ecosystem.
In the coming months, we will have discussions with the industry about their need for education programs tailored to the needs of the semicon industry. We will also meet with educational organizations, e.g. ROC, HAN, Radboud and other universities about the possible programs they offer.
February 21, 2019 – BCSEMI NL and NMWP jointly organized the first ‘NMWP Themenabend’ outside the German Nordrhein-Westfalen region. An important topic was the introduction of the Chip Integration Technology Center (CITC).
Future of chip development
The Themenabend ‘Chip Integration Technologies’ on February 19, was organized by the clusters NMWP.NRW, NMWP e.V. and Business Cluster Semiconductors Netherlands (BCSEMI NL). The event took place on the Novio Tech Campus in Nijmegen. The evening was dedicated to the future of chip development and the integration of photonics in chips. Photonics play an important role in crossing the borders of current microsystem and chiptechnologies. Therefore, photonics is the next big thing in micro and nano electronics. It perfectly fits the focus of ROCKET (RegiOnal Collaboration on Key Enabling Technologies), an interregional V A-project. ROCKET stimulates collaboration between industry and science in the German/Dutch border region. It aims to further enforce research, technological development and innovation. This project is funded by the EU and INTERREG-partners.
An important subject of the evening was the introduction of the Chip Integration Technology Centre (CITC). CITC is an open innovation center for chip technologies. It recently received funding from the city of Nijmegen and the province of Gelderland. The evening also highlighted the importance of connecting experts and lobbyists in the German/Dutch border region. The program included a visit to various High Tech Semicon companies on the Novio Tech Campus. The participants were introduced to the infrastructure on campus and the working methods of the various companies.
“Next to the large amount of research institutes and universities, it’s the broad scope of innovative entrepreneurs in the German/Dutch border region that defines our prosperous achievements. Collaboration, that crosses borders and technologies, is key to our success. Successful events like the Themenabend, jointly organized by the clusters NMWP and BCSEMI NL, are important for further elaboration of this cross-border collaboration”, says Michiel Scheffer, deputy of the Gelderland region. He was content with the large amount of visitors of the event. The get-together at the end of the evening offered visitors the possibility to network and go into in-depth discussions with the speakers.
December 19, 2018 – On December 19, the provincial council of Gelderland has decided in favor of public funding of the Chip Integration Technology Center (CITC). The province of Gelderland and the city of Nijmegen are investing 7.5 million and 2 million euros, respectively, over the next four years. This public funding will be used, combined with the other (private) funds, to set up CITC and execute its first innovation project.
Place to be for chip integration
A large number of organizations in the semiconductor-ecosystem (inside and outside the Nijmegen region) took the initiative of establishing CITC. Main initiators were Business Cluster Semiconductors , Novio Tech Campus and TNO Holst. All parties are pleased that both the province of Gelderland and the city of Nijmegen have confirmed their financial commitment. CITC is of great value for the international positioning of the region as ‘the place to be for chip integration’. CITC will attract talent and focus on innovations that will contribute to solving societal challenges. Over the past few months, all partners worked hard on the establishment of a strong portfolio of innovation projects. This means that upon its opening, CITC is off to a flying start.
An important challenge for the parties involved is the regional attraction of human capital. Therefore, CITC will be partnering up with knowledge institutes, e.g. ROC Nijmegen, HAN, Radboud University and technical universities as TU Delft. Within the CITC, their goal is to realize new activities in the field of education and talent development.
CITC aims to open its doors in the second quarter of 2019.
December 13, 2018 – On Thursday, December 13, CITC signed the Photonics covenant representing a total investment of 236 million euros. The investment has been confirmed by the government, a number of provinces and regions, companies and knowledge institutes. Under the common flag of of PhotonDelta, their goal is to accelerate development of integrated photonics. By signing this covenant, an amount of 1.25 – 2 million euros becomes available for the CITC photonics cluster.
The knowledge and experience that are available in the Dutch semiconductor industryare joined in the CITC initiative. They will be utilized at their best through this collaboration. Together, we can accelerate the growth of the Dutch integrated photonics market and give the Netherlands a global leading position.
Major challenges in packaging of photonics chips
The combination of new photonics chips with existing electronics chips creates major challenges in the integration and packaging of chips. By integrating these technologies on one chip, the necessary bridge can be created between light and electricity on one chip. In CITC, knowledge and experience in the field of chip integration and chip packaging in the Dutch semiconductor industry, gained over the last 50 years, come together. They will be used to help solve these challenges even faster.
National network from three regions
Thanks to the collaboration between the two Photonics Integration Technology Centers (PITCs) in Eindhoven and Twente and the CITC in Nijmegen, companies and knowledge institutes in these three regions form an open network in which new chips for ever-changing applications can be developed quickly.
December 7, 2018 – On Wednesday, November 28, the 3rd edition of the Benelux RF Conference took place. Specialists in radiofrequency from Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands came together at the Novio Tech Campus in Nijmegen.
Place to be
The Benelux RF Conference is the place to be for designers in the RF industry to share their latest products and exchange knowledge. There were speakers from the RF industry and the opportunity to network. Visitors could also participate in workshops to get their hands on the newest technologies for the first time. Benelux RF Conference attracted 187 visitors and therefore continues its yearly growth.
The goals of Benelux RF Conference are similar to the goals of CITC. Both try to minimize the gap between developers and manufacturers in the technological sector. Therefore, CITC was present to explain its role in an ever changing technological industry to all technical managers, researchers and engineers attending the event.
Growing number of participants
Organizer Nieke Roos is happy with the result. “We organize multiple events each year. We have noticed it’s getting increasingly harder to make people leave their home for a congress. Benelux RF Conference, however, grows every year. The added workshops were a success. Next year, we also want to include students at our event, so they also can have a look in the future.”