Imec gets a bigger fab, kicks off lab expansion project

European nanoelectronics research center Imec is growing up.

Yesterday, the Leuven, Belgium-based center officially opened an extension of its cleanroom, which gives it an extra 1200 square meters of "ultraclean" space for state-of-the-art chip fabrication.

The added area is also vibration controlled, in preparation for receiving the latest extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUVL) tool—ASML's pre-production NXE:3100 scanner—by the end of 2010.

Yesterday also kicked off the construction of additional lab spaces for Imec’s research on silicon and organic solar cells, and for projects on cutting edge biomedical electronics.

And later this year, the company will start building a new, 16-story office building designed by Austrian architecture firm Baumschlager-Eberle. It will house 450 people, an auditorium, and smaller labs.

Rising above the trees at the entrance to the city of Leuven from the Brussels road, the new Imec tower (artist rendering above) will serve as an "icon" of the tech center, Leuven’s mayor, Louis Tobback, told local dignitaries and Imec partners at yesterday’s ceremony. It will be a symbol of the "self-confidence" of the region, and of course, he added, it will also demonstrate who is mayor.

From the press release:

With these extra 18,000m2 cleanroom, lab and office space, imec will have a research campus of 80,000m2 that can stand the comparison with any other high-tech research center worldwide. As such, imec aims at playing an important role in the growth of the Flemish high-tech economy.

Vice minister president (second in charge) of the Flemish government, Ingrid Lieten, was on hand to cut the ribbons at the cleanroom’s opening, along with Imec president and CEO Luc Van den hove, Mayor Tobback, and Intel Labs Europe director Martin Curley, among others (photo at top).

The expansion announcements opened Imec’s two-day Technology Forum, held in Antwerp, Belgium.

Below, Van den hove, Lieten, and Tobback at the fab. 

 

The already-hard-at-work part of the fab is shown above.

Note: Costs of press visit to Imec research centers in Leuven, Belgium, and Eindhoven, The Netherlands, were covered by Imec.

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