First Eindhoven-Taiwan Summer School on semiconductors and photonics to take place at TU/e

August 22, 2023

The inaugural summer school brings together leaders from academia and industry from the Netherlands and Taiwan, and offers critical insights on current and future developments in semiconductors and photonics.

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Between August 28th and September 1st, the inaugural Eindhoven-Taiwan Summer School on semiconductors and photonics will be held on the TU/e campus. Over the course of five days, participants in the school will attend engaging lectures by leading experts in semiconductors and photonics from academia and industry, such as world leaders ASML and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). The exciting program also includes tours of cutting-edge labs and social events for networking and cultural exchange between participants from the Netherlands and Taiwan.

In addition to the advanced semiconductor and photonics products of the future, products combining both semiconductor and photonics components are set to be in demand. Satisfying this demand relies on having access to the very latest technologies and the best talent to develop these technologies.

The need for talent at the regional and national level is also acknowledged at the European level. For instance, the newly adopted EU Chips Act secures investments to educate and train the future generations of engineers to fulfill the European ambition of doubling the global chip market share by 2030 to 20%.

Therefore, motivated by TU/e being a key knowledge institution for the semiconductors and photonics industry in the Netherlands and striving to attract the very best in talent to the Eindhoven and Brainport region, TU/e is organizing the first Eindhoven-Taiwan Summer School on Semiconductors and Photonics, along with a host of academic and industrial partners from the Netherlands and Taiwan.

Aida Todri-Sanial

An important opportunity

“This summer school is an important opportunity to bring both academic and industrial partners together and get an overview of what’s happening in semiconductors and photonics,” says Aida Todri-Sanial, professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering at TU/e and Scientific Director for the summer school. “What’s more, it’s a fantastic opportunity to highlight various initiatives in the EU and Asia in relation to semiconductors and photonics.”

Martijn Heck, professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering at TU/e, also recognises the importance of the summer school and is excited to see it being hosted at TU/e. “There are lots of new technologies in development right now, and many of these rely on the synergy of semiconductors and photonics, and there are immense possibilities for both fields. These fields are starting to merge, and this is a big deal for those in photonics. Fortunately, at TU/e and in the Brainport region, we have the expertise in both fields to help facilitate this merging, but we need to make sure that the talent is there to carry that forward. This summer school certainly helps to promote this need and drive.”

It’s a fantastic opportunity to highlight various initiatives in the EU and Asia in relation to semiconductors and photonics.

Prof. Aida Todri-Sanial (TU/e)

Martijn Heck

The worldwide need for talent

The need for talent referred to by Heck is not just a local observation in Eindhoven and the Brainport region. This need is also reciprocated further afield in Taiwan, as Tzi-Dar Chiueh, professor of Electrical Engineering, at the National Taiwan University (NTU) can attest to.

“There is a major shortage of talent in Taiwan when it comes to the semiconductor industry,” says Chiueh. “To address this, a new graduate school (the Graduate School of Advanced Technology) was established by the Taiwanese government about 18 months ago with the goal of training the next generations of engineers for the critical roles in Taiwan’s semiconductor industry. As part of this, we want the students to engage in international exchange programs, to learn from the best not just in Taiwan, but also around the world too.”

Unbeknown to each other, in both Eindhoven and Taiwan, there was a sense of urgency with regards to establishing a summer school dedicated to promoting the latest in semiconductors and photonics. “The summer school has come about from a proposal from international affairs and also from the proactivity of Lin-Lin Chin (Dean of and professor at the department of Industrial Design at TU/e). She contacted her colleagues in Taiwan with the regards to the feasibility of the summer school,” notes Todri-Sanial.

Once contacted by Lin-Lin Chen about the summer school ideas, Chiueh and his colleagues were very enthusiastic. “It was a great idea! The proposal also reached us at a good time as we have three of the big universities here in Taiwan working together on the new graduate school in Taiwan,” says Chiueh.

Tzi-Dar Chiueh

Uniting technologies

The graduates of the future in the field of integrated circuits are destined to be working on the combination of various technologies as part of so-called heterogeneous integration where different types of chips are combined together in a single device.

“This chip-scale integration is novel and will present challenges. It’s about bringing together technologies made from different materials which are not typically native to each other. Put simply, it’s about putting materials on silicon that are not normally placed on silicon,” says Heck.

This chip-scale integration is novel and will present challenges.

Prof. Martijn Heck (TU/e)

And it’s not limited to merging just semiconductors and photonics. There are quantum possibilities. “In the future, it could involve the combination of quantum and photonics components for our future secure communication needs or in devices for quantum sensing,” adds Todri-Sanial. “But there are a lot of challenges for this co-integration, both in research and in industry.”

One of the major challenges relates to the foundries where the devices are produced. In Taiwan, there is a wealth of infrastructure for the production of semiconductor devices, but that will all change when semiconductors and photonics become one. “New foundries will have to be built to facilitate the heterogeneous integration,” notes Chiueh. “Changing older plants isn’t viable. Added to that we need to change how the graduates in traditional circuit design are educated. They’ll need to learn fundamental photonics, and perhaps even quantum mechanics.”

We need to change how the graduates in traditional circuit design are educated.

Prof. Tzi-Dar Chiueh (National Taiwan University)

Helping to meet the Scale Jump

For the first summer school, the 30 participants will be made up of 3rd and 4th year Bachelor students and Masters students from the Netherlands and Taiwan. “Added to that, a large contingent of professors from Taiwan will be visiting TU/e during the week of the school to meet colleagues from various TU/e departments,” adds Todri-Sanial.

Moving forward, the plan is to increase the number of participants to 100 over the coming years, with the hosting of the school rotated between Taiwan and Eindhoven.

“The summer school aligns perfectly with the goals of the Talent program of the Growth fund, which aims to make the Netherlands a leader in the production and design of next-generation semiconductors,” says Heck. “Added to that, the summer school also fits the Scale Jump for the Brainport region whereby TU/e wants to double the number of master degree graduates by 2032 to meet the anticipated demands for talent in the Brainport region.”

The final word goes to Tzi-Dar Chiueh, who will also speak during the opening session on the first day of the summer school. “This is an incredible opportunity for learning and advancement. We have experts from across the continents meeting to discuss the cutting-edge and future of the field with key industrial partners. I’m very much looking forward to being in Eindhoven for what will be an immense week of learning and networking with the current and future generation of circuit engineers.”

School partners

There is an impressive list of universities and companies taking part in the inaugural summer school including TU/e, National Taiwan University (NTU), National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University (NYCU), National Cheng Kung University (NCKU), Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), ASML (also a sponsor), NXP (also a sponsor), PhotonDelta (also a sponsor), Smart Photonics, Effect Photonics, Neways, Imec, High Tech XL, and Axelera AI.

Further information on the Eindhoven-Taiwan Summer School can be found at the school’s official website.

Media contact

Barry Fitzgerald
(Science Information Officer)

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