Call for Grant Applications in Cross-disciplinary Semiconductor Research (CSR)


SRC GRC is soliciting grant applications in Cross-disciplinary Semiconductor Research.

The goal of CSR is to foster exploratory, multi-disciplinary, longer-term university research leading to novel high-payoff solutions for the science and technology challenges faced by the semiconductor industry at and beyond the time horizons of the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS). Successful CSR projects will offer innovative and, possibly, disruptive solutions to the challenge of continuing the exponential gains in cost/performance benefits provided by the semiconductor industry for the foreseeable future, and may lead to novel applications for this industry.

The role of this program is to stimulate non-traditional thinking about the issues facing the semiconductor industry. It is intended to seed new research and programs for the SRC GRC, SRC FCRP, and SRC NRI. Consistent with the incubator role of the initiative, the CSR grants awarded will be 1 year non-overhead bearing grants at a funding level of $40K. Awardees are encouraged to develop a proposal for follow-on funding of expanded programs by the SRC GRC, SRC FCRP, SRC NRI or other agencies. Follow-on funding will depend on the availability of funds and strategic plan alignment.


The SRC CSR Program specifically solicits exploratory proposals in three related but distinct areas in 2012. I) Emerging Technology, and II) Emerging Design, and III) Emerging Materials. An indication of SRC interests in these three areas is outlined in the following:

I. Emerging Technologies

Continued dimensional and functional scaling of CMOS is driving information processing technology into a broadening spectrum of new applications. Longer Horizon Technologies include end-of-the Roadmap CMOS solutions, projected to scale below 10 nm, and several new alternative devices for existing or new functions that may help to sustain the historical integrated circuit scaling cadence and reduction of cost/function into future decades. There is a strong interest in new devices for digital, RF, analog and mixed-signal applications, and in new technologies for heterogeneous integration of multiple functions (a.k.a. “More than Moore”).

Topics of interest include but are not limited to (for a more complete list of potential research topics please refer to the Emerging Research Devices Chapter of the 2011 International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors,

  • New logic devices, e.g.
    • FETs utilizing non-traditional materials (III-V, Ge…) with efficient n- and p-channel devices using the same material system
    • Tunnel FET, nanowire FETs, NEMS, and other emerging logic devices
  • Emerging memory devices, e.g.
    • Redox memory, Mott memory, etc.
  • Emerging devices based on new physical principles for RF, analog and mixed-signal circuits. Examples include
    • Tunnel FET, spin-torque oscillator, memristor, vibrating-Body FET etc.
  • Integrated sensors
  • Radically new ideas for efficient light sources for optical interconnects
    • Exploring nanoscale physics and new materials

II. Emerging Design

Longer Horizon Design needs are driven by considerations such as increasing complexity, emergence of new prospective enabling technologies, the massive data challenge etc. Emerging devices based on new physical principles need to be explored in the circuit and system design context to better understand their potential. Many emerging application drivers require SoC/SiP multi-technologies, i.e. the design of a heterogeneous system in a single chip or in a single package. For example, sensor chip design needs orders of magnitude reduction in their operating power from where we are today. New hardware solutions will be needed, such as e.g. neuromorphic circuits for fast and energy-efficient data extraction; new nonvolatile memory architectures for power savings etc. For testing of multi-technology chips, e.g. sensor chips, it is crucial to eliminate the need for custom actuation-based testers & handlers, in order to minimize cost. Ideally ‘design for (no) test’ solutions are needed which includes self-test/self-calibration. For mixed-signal/RF VLSI circuits, there is a growing need to operate in the 100 GHz+ regime where design methodologies are immature, thus radical new ideas are needed to develop design capabilities for design at mm-wave frequencies on standard CMOS process.

Topics of interest include but are not limited to (for a more complete list of topics please refer to the 2011 International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors, in particular the chapters on System Drivers, Design, RF and Analog/Mixed-signal Technologies and MEMS -

  • Compact modeling of advanced logic and analog devices
  • Architectures for enabling exponential increase in communication bandwidth including new embedded nonvolatile memory, I/Os and network-on-chip approaches etc.
    • Solutions for transfer of massive blocks of data to, from and across the chip
    • Target data transfer rate – >50-100 Gbps without significant increase in operating power
  • Hardware and software solutions for data fusion
    • Conversion of massive data into actionable information
  • Exploring emerging devices based on new physical principles for data converters, i.e. analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog
    • e.g. memristive devices for data conversion
  • Simulation-based mixed-signal/RF design at extremely high frequencies (100 GHz+)
    • Compact modeling
    • Fundamental circuit blocks
    • Verification and Test
    • New Methods for modeling of interconnects and passive components at >100 GHz
  • Sensor circuits design and test
    • Targeting orders of magnitude reduction in their operating power
    • New hardware solutions, such as e.g. neuromorphic circuits for fast and energy-efficient data extraction
    • Solutions for embedded cryptoprocessor as part of the sensor chip
    • Self-test methodologies based on the reciprocity of most physical mechanisms underlying sensors

III. Emerging Materials

This topic includes material properties, synthetic methods, metrology and modeling required for emerging research nanoelectronic devices, including analog devices, sensors, energy sources etc. Proposals in the broad cross-disciplinary area of materials research are sought, that address Difficult Challenges in emerging research materials technologies. These challenges and projected research requirements are summarized in the 2011 ITRS chapters on Interconnects and Emerging Research Materials (

Topics of interest include but are not limited to:

  • Emerging interconnect materials for beyond copper and carbon (please refer to the Emerging Interconnect Solutions section in the Interconnects Chapter of the 2011 ITRS)
    • Metal silicides, silver etc.
    • Metallic Phonon Engineering
    • Metallic Geometric Resonance
    • Topological Insulators
    • Superconductors
  • Additive manufacturing for sub 10 nm structures
    • e.g. combining methods of Directed Self Assembly, selective deposition, etc. for etch-free pattern transfer
  • Thermoelectric materials for on-chip energy sources and cooling technologies.

Grant Application Guidelines

Responses are limited to 3 pages, using no less than a 10-point font, and MUST BE SUBMITTED VIA THE SRC WEB SITE by MONDAY, June 4th, 3 PM EDT/12 PM PDT. Non-compliance with these guidelines may exclude your grant application from consideration.

Please include the following identifying information in your grant application:

  • Project title
  • Investigator(s)
  • University
  • Telephone number and e-mail address

Please address the following in your grant application:

  • Approximately 100 word executive summary
  • Problem to be addressed - explain the rationale for the project in terms of the semiconductor industry needs
  • Objective - what do you plan to do?
  • Novelty - the basic concept and discuss the role of cross-disciplinary research in providing a unique solution to the problem addressed
  • Approach - strategy for addressing the problem
  • Research output - identify possible research products of a successful research program
  • IP - disclose blocking background intellectual property

Timetable and Deadlines

Open Call for Grant Applications Friday, April 27, 2012
Deadline to Submit Grant Applications Monday, June 4, 2012  - 3 PM EDT/12 PM PDT
Notification of Final Program Selection Results Friday, August 10, 2012
Program/Funding Start Wednesday, January 1, 2013

Please direct all technical questions to Dr. Victor Zhirnov, (, 919-941-9454). All other questions should be directed to Leslie Faiers (, 919-941-9455).

4819 Emperor Blvd, Suite 300 Durham, NC 27703 Voice: (919) 941-9400 Fax: (919) 941-9450