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Microelectronics and VLSI

To excel in various aspects of microelectronics and VLSI, encompassing materials research, device development, molecular electronics, building complex digital and analog chips. To establish strong research links with industry in India and abroad, and to participate in national programmes for training manpower in VLSI

The explosive growth in microelectronics—enshrined in Moore’s law—has fueled a revolution in the computer, communications, and consumer electronics industries. With the world semiconductor market estimated at US$ 319 billion, the semiconductor market will exceed the automobile market size by 2010.

IIT Bombay has a strong presence in the area of Microelectronics and VLSI. While the Electrical Engineering Department forms the nucleus for research in the area, there are interdisciplinary collaborations with faculty in the Departments of Computer Science and Engineering, Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science, and Reliability Engineering. Contributions by the microelectronics group encompass physics and technology of devices, circuit design, and system architecture among others. The group has considerable expertise in characterization, modeling and simulation. An important part of the characterization and modeling work has been, to model radiation effects in MOS devices and circuits. The microelectronics group has undertaken national-scale projects (amounting to over US$ 15 million / INR 750M in the last 15 years) and has successfully transferred technologies to industries.

VLSI Design & Technology

The VLSI project began in 1987 with the establishment of a VLSI Design Centre*, funded by the Department of Electronics, Government of India. The centre is now being supported by Intel Inc., US. Several chips have been designed at the Institute. This includes small-sized 3 and 5 micrometer nMOS test, and gate array chips designed for fabrication (including a radiation-hard gate array chip), as well as LSI/VLSI level chips. Most of the work has been on MOS, but some bipolar LSTTL chips have also been designed for commercial use, which are now being manufactured and marketed in India.

Yet another achievement has been the commercial development of an Interconnect Capacitance Extraction Tool. To date, VLSI activities at IIT Bombay have received funding to the tune of over 10 crores from the Government of India and industries.

* The Centre is an important research facility at the Institute and has been described in the section on “Major Research Facilities”.

Principal areas of research
• Materials research for VLSI
• Sub 50nm CMOS technology development
• Circuit simulation for design of modern VLSI circuits
• Mixed Signal VLSI Design
• Research on Asynchronous Systems
• VLSI Design and Networking
• Molecular Electronics using DNA, porphyrins and conducting polymers
• MEMS and Bio-MEMS

The Institute has excellent facilities for the design, fabrication and testing of CMOS integrated circuits, including a Class 1000 Clean Room with all major equipment to make 3 micron MOS devices and circuits, extensive measurement and characterization facilities, MEMS fabrication, SEM and photoluminescence, VLSI design and simulation workstations.

Industry and International Linkages
The faculty group has strong links with Indian and international companies in several forms: Two industry-sponsored laboratories—Tata Consultancy Services VLSI Design Laboratory and the Intel Microelectronics Laboratory—have been established in the Electrical Engineering Department to support research and development activities in the area. Additionally, the Wadhwani Electronics Laboratory has also been established through alumnus funding (more in the section on “IIT Bombay and the Industry”). The microelectronics programme has encouraged industry professionals to take part in its academic activities as adjunct faculty. The VLSI group has conducted several CEP courses to leading Indian and International industries like Texas Instruments, Sasken Communication Technology, Motorola, Cadence Design Tools, Semiconductor Complex Ltd etc. Companies have funded several student projects, and sponsored and industrial consultancy projects have been executed. To expand and intensify the scope of research in VLSI, plans are in the pipeline, to establish a VLSI Excellence Centre at IIT Bombay in collaboration with its alumni.