Innovative Device Engineering and Application (IDEA) Lab
Baek, Chang-Ki (Convergence IT Engineering)
Silicon, although widely used for semiconductor fabrication, has faced challenges as its limits as a material are often pinpointed as the reason for stalling the progress of semiconductors, especially in line with heightened needs for future devices in the 4th Industrial Revolution era. In spite of such challenges being raised for decades, silicon has remained unrivaled among other semiconductor materials, which owes much to the efforts made to overcome its shortcomings through the development of diverse structures and processes.
The IDEA Lab headed by Professor Baek, Chang-Ki at the Department of Convergence IT Engineering, POSTECH, harnesses nano technology to move beyond the limitations inherent in silicon materials and develop new semiconductor devices that meet the needs of the future. The Lab is developing image sensors, photodetectors, biochemical sensors and other diverse sensors as well as engaging in such conventional semiconductor technology as memory and logic semiconductors. Researchers at the Lab are also working on neuromorphic semiconductors and other potential replacements for today’s DRAM devices.
Nano technology, by drawing on quantum-mechanical phenomena, contributes to pushing beyond the limitations of existing technologies. The IDEA Lab also applied nano technology to create a bar-type structure that reduces interference among devices in order to excel beyond the conventional DRAM structure. Unlike the present technologies that attempt to produce the same benefits by way of stacking, this novel structure enables giga-level speeds on a single device unit.
Some of the new devices developed at the Lab are quite close to being commercialized. First, there is the high-sensitivity sensor made of Field Effect Transistors (FETs) that is capable of detecting toxic fluoride ions dangerous to the human body within five seconds. Second, there is the photodetector, which employs an hourglass-shape silicon nanowire structure to generate resonance effects and results in increased photo responses and thus has a promising potential to serve as an automotive sensor. Third, there is the thermoelectric device that turns heat into electricity and its demonstration has been underway since last year at the Gimcheon Plant of KCC, a domestic building materials company, for the first time in Korea using the waste heat from the plant to generate electricity.
The IDEA Lab aims to be a step ahead of businesses, with the belief that universities need to ensure a lead in alerting businesses to the technology under development at universities. Rather than diving deep into one specific area, the Lab is working across the entire process of silicon semiconductor development from fabrication to measurement and computer simulation. With its commitment to the research of silicon, the primary material for semiconductor manufacturing, an area in which Korea has successfully widened the ‘super gap’ through its independent technology, the IDEA Lab is tirelessly searching for new technology to deliver scarcity value to society.
Head of Lab