The main mission of NSTC's National Applied Research Laboratories (NARLabs) is to promote the development of science and technology nationwide. With its four main missions, to establish R&D platforms, support academic research, promote frontier science and technology, and foster high-tech manpower, NARLabs aims to facilitate scientific innovations and technological breakthroughs. NARLabs' eight research centers are equipped with valuable hardware and software that are difficult for domestic universities to acquire on their own. In addition, they offer a variety of specialized service platforms to assist academic and research communities in conducting scientific research and developing cutting-edge technology.
In recognition of the top scientific achievements made by teams in industrial, government, academic, and research sectors using NARLabs' R&D service platforms, NARLabs holds an annual competition for its R&D Service Platform Achievement Awards. This year's top award, the High Distinction award, was conferred to a research team formed by Professor Hsin-Hui Hu of the Department of Electronic Engineering at National Taipei University of Technology in collaboration with National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University and National Cheng Kung University. The team was awarded a prize of NT$300,000 for their achievements. Their research is titled "Heterogeneous IGZO/Si CFET Multi-layer 3D Integration for SRAM and RF Applications." During their research, they utilized an R&D platform from NARLabs' Taiwan Semiconductor Research Institute (TSRI) called "Advanced Semiconductor Manufacturing and High-frequency Measurement Technology."
Using the cleanroom facilities and R&D platform provided by TSRI, the team developed a novel heterogeneous stacked (the bottom layer being a p-type poly-Si thin film transistor and the top layer being an n-type indium-gallium-zinc oxide thin film transistor) hetero-channel, vertically stacked complementary FET (CFET), and applied it to inverters and 6T static random-access memory (SRAM). This technology can be integrated into processes lower than 1nm and can reduce power consumption due to its low leakage. The indium-gallium-zinc oxide in the upper channel can be extended to RF components for multi-layer circuits. This achievement demonstrates the ability to integrate materials in different channels and multi-functional components on the same substrate in a process, achieving the capability to meet future demand for system on panel (SoP) integration.
Two teams won Excellence awards: one led by Distinguished Professor Feng-Chuan Chuang from the Department of Physics at National Sun Yat-sen University, and the other led by Professor Wen-Hsiao Peng from the Department of Computer Science at National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University. Using the Taiwania 1 supercomputer at the National Center for High‑Performance Computing (NCHC), Prof. Feng-Chuan Chuang's team investigated the electrical, magnetic, topological, and thermodynamic properties of crystalline materials to understand the physical mechanisms of thickness to regulate 2D materials, adsorption on atomic surfaces, and changes in physical properties caused by doping. They also explored novel 2D material systems, as well as the physical properties of carbon-based qubits and their quantum spin. These research achievements have greatly expanded the applied value of 2D materials for the development of spin components, quantum computers, and low-consumption components, and can be used to develop new components or products.
Prof. Wen-Hsiao Peng's team used the Taiwania 2 AI supercomputer at NCHC to develop technologies such as artificial intelligence image and video compression, video encoder control, image and video processing, smart transportation, smart buildings, smart stores, and 3D behavioral recognition systems. The image and video compression technology has been included as a standardizable option by the international organization MPAI (Moving Picture, Audio and Data Coding by Artificial Intelligence) and has won second place in the Call for Evidence on Learning-based Image Coding Technologies competition held by the Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) AI, an international compression standards organization. For their video encoder control technology, they have also signed on to a collaborative project with U.S. company Qualcomm, the world's largest IC design house and the second largest mobile phone chip supplier.
Additionally, two teams received Honorable Mention awards: one led by Distinguished Professor Tai-Haur Kuo of the Department of Electrical Engineering at National Cheng Kung University, who developed "High-performance Data Converters for Next Generation Communications" using TSRI's "Chip Design and Process Tapeout Services," and the other led by Chair Professor Wei-Leun Fang of the Department of Power Mechanical Engineering at National Tsing Hua University for developing "CMOS-MEMS Tactile Sensors" using TSRI's "CMOS-MEMS Circuit Design and Tapeout Services."
NARLabs Vice President Bou-Wen Lin stated that NARLabs' vision is "Global Excellence, Local Impact," and with the support and guidance of NSTC, it has established numerous kinds of R&D service platforms to assist academic and research communities in developing top-notch scientific research to contribute the well-being of society. Nowadays, much of the most future-oriented technological research relies on teamwork as well as advanced software and hardware, which are the key strengths of the various R&D service platforms set up by NARLabs. NARLabs hopes that the R&D Service Platform Achievement Awards will encourage Taiwan's academic and research communities to further collaborate with NARLabs and use its platforms developed through the strength of the nation to make globally competitive R&D achievements.