35 Years Institute for Microelectronics

On Thursday June 29th, the Institute for Microelectronics celebrated

On June 29, 2023, the Technische Universität Wien celebrated the 35-year anniversary of the Institute for Microelectronics. To put this in perspective, when the institute was founded, the top-of-the-line microprocessor (Motorola MC68030) consisted of 273,000 transistors and ran on a single core at clock rates up to 50 MHz. Today,  microprocessors consist of billions of transistors and run on 16 cores at rates up to 6 GHz. Back in 1988, Prof. Siegfried Selberherr saw microelectronics as a transformational technology, which will inevitably require in-depth modeling and simulation capabilities, if its true potential was to be achieved. With this in mind, he pioneered the field of technology computer aided design (TCAD) in microelectronics with a release of the first software titled MINIMOS for the numerical simulation of field-effect transistors (FETs). MINIMOS found broad and active use in academia and industry over the years, and was used to study, to design, and to optimize advanced silicon-based transistors. Prof. Selberherr then founded the Institute for Microelectronics at the Technische Universität Wien on July 1st, 1988. During the last 35 years, along with the entire microelectronics industry, the Institute for Microelectronics has advanced and grown incredibly, enabled by its active involvement in developing and improving TCAD tools and models for semiconductor device operation and fabrication. With Erasmus Langer joining Prof. Selberherr in this path at its onset, this small institute has grown into a juggernaut of international acclaim. Today, the Institute for Microelectronics is home to 8 professors (with more planned in the years to come), 4 administrative staff, 3 technical staff, and countless researchers at varying stages of their careers. This is a clear indication of Prof. Selberherr’s vision coming to fruition as it is now impossible to imagine micro- and nano-electronics without TCAD.

For the festive event on June 29th, the head of the Institute for Microelectronics, Prof. Tibor Grasser, invited all its current and former staff and doctoral students, as well as TU Wien colleagues, to come together and celebrate the tremendous achievements made in the last 35 years and to toast to the successes yet to come in the next 35. The celebration was opened with some introductory words from our esteemed colleagues, the Vice Rector of Research and Innovation, Prof. Johannes Fröhlich, the Vice Rector for Digitalization and Infrastructure, Prof. Josef Eberhardsteiner, the designated Rector of the Technische Universität Wien, Prof. Jens Schneider, and the Dean of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology, Prof. Norbert Görtz. After the introductions, Prof. Erasmus Langer took the audience through the history of the institute, from its interesting and unconventional founding through to its adaptation and navigation within a growing and increasingly complex field of semiconductor TCAD. Finally, the current head of the Institute for Microelectronics, Prof. Tibor Grasser, took the stage to provide an overview of the ongoing work at the institute and where the path may lead to in the future.

It is worthwhile noting that there would be no Institute for Microelectronics without Prof. Siegfried Selberherr. Therefore, to thank him for laying the foundations for the Institute for Microelectronics, and for providing a consistent path for further development and growth over the past 35 years, he was presented with a plaque honoring his tireless contribution to the institute and to the people who have gathered to celebrate its successes.