imec’s Forty-Year Microchip

What began as an initiative driven by a handful of visionary KU Leuven researchers has become a world-leading R&D center for microchip technology. 

imec tower in Leuven (Belgium). Image ©️imec.

After 4 decades, imec has positioned itself as a leading R&D centre in the field of nanoelectronics and digital technologies. imec’s technological innovations have applications in the fields of health and life sciences, mobility, industry 4.0, agri-food, smart cities, sustainable energy, education, and many others.

A-look-inside-imec’s-300mm-cleanroom. Image ©️imec.

“Companies from all over the world gather in our cleanroom to work with imec researchers and shape the next generations of microchip technologies. Importantly, everyone reaps the rewards of these advancements, given that chips serve as the building blocks of every electronic device surrounding us, from smartphones and TVs to washing machines and (increasingly smart) cars!” Luc Van den hove, CEO imec  

A-look-inside-imec’s-300mm-cleanroom. Image ©️imec

Burning with ambition

And imec is committed to staying at the forefront of semiconductor innovation for years to come “With collaboration (both within and across different Chips Act initiatives) as our primary tool. Only through collective efforts can we lay the groundwork for solutions that will address ongoing challenges, spanning from climate change and mobility issues to the mounting pressure on our healthcare systems.”

Working more closely with the automotive industry

One of the sectors that imec wants to work with more closely in 2024 is the automotive industry. « The challenges confronting car manufacturers are substantial, particularly with the gradual takeover of human drivers’ functions by intelligent driver assistance systems. These systems vigilantly monitor vehicles’ surroundings to preempt dangerous traffic situations. They rely on a new generation of sensors that use advanced chip technology to improve accuracy and cost-efficiency and reduce energy consumption. »

Transforming cars into ‘chips on wheels’…

“The next step is also underway, leveraging artificial intelligence and sensor fusion to combine signals from cameras, radar, and lidar systems to achieve an even better awareness of what is happening around a car. This evolution is transforming cars into ‘chips on wheels’ that are constantly connected to other road users and the roadside infrastructure.”

Today, imec employs more than 5,500 people in over 100 countries. In 2022, imec’s turnover (P&L) will amount to 846 million euros.