Bizen Lands £1.68M U.K. Government Grant to Support Its Transistor Process TechnologyJune 15, 2020 by Shannon Cuthrell
The grant was made by the "Driving the Electric Revolution Challenge" program, part of UKRI’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.
Search For The Next (SFN) announced that its Bizen transistor technology, recently received a £1.68 million ($2.1 million USD) grant from the U.K.’s science and research funding agency, U.K. Research and Innovation, to fund further development of its transistor process technology.
Awarded from U.K. Research and Innovation’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, the grant will be used to support SFN’s Bizen process technology, which makes it easier for semiconductor designers to create circuits with half the number of process layers than the existing CMOS (complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor) fabrication process, in turn yielding less power consumption at more advanced speeds.
Bizen (named for Bipolar/Zener) applies the principals of Zener quantum tunnel mechanics to traditional Bipolar processing — weighing the benefits and disadvantages of both. SFN claims Bizen allows engineers to cut their development time down from 15 weeks to three weeks, while also increasing gate density and reducing die size three-fold.
A graph of Bizen’s processing time compared to the traditional CMOS process. (Image courtesy of Search For The Next)
For the past few years, SFN has worked to develop Bizen in a partnership with Semefab, a silicon wafer foundry in Glenrothes, Scotland. Now with funding from the U.K.’s Research and Innovation office, the company will be able to bring the technology to market faster in collaboration with the U.K. government’s new Industrialization Centres.
SFN’s technology is advantageous for the U.K. as the country works to establish a strong foothold in the global power electronics sector, particularly in markets such as electric vehicles, hybrid aircraft, renewable energy, smart grids, and low-carbon infrastructure development.
Focusing on these areas, the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund allocated £80 million to create the Driving Electric Revolution Challenge, aiming to invest in technologies that enhance the resilience of U.K.-based supply chains, while also contributing to renewable energy and clean power generation.
Search For The Next CEO David Summerland stated in a press release that Bizen will play a key role in helping the U.K. to meet its net-zero targets.
“Bizen has the ability to enable the UK to develop a leadership position in semiconductor manufacturing,” Summerland said. “My challenge to the industry is this: have a look at Bizen and we are sure that you’ll see that it’s impossible to produce a wide variety of ICs at a lower cost or on a shorter TTM. Truly, CMOS is history.”