Purdue-related startup could solve challenges for next-generation transistors

November 5, 2014  

Klimeck nemo

A researcher at Purdue University uses NEMO5 software from simulation software startup NEMOco to understand transport in sub-10nm transistors.  (Purdue Research Foundation photo)
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The founder of a simulation software startup based on a Purdue University innovation says his company could help the semiconductor industry overcome research and development challenges in designing and manufacturing next-generation transistors.

Transistors perform computational functions in electronic devices such as computers or phones. Gerhard Klimeck, founder of NEMOco, said transistors have been miniaturized to such a small size that the atoms inside them can be counted.

"The problem is that today's design tools don't know that atoms exist, nor do they know that electrons are quantum mechanical entities that need to be treated as such. That poses a huge challenge to the industry moving forward," he said. "If the challenge to design sub-10 nanometer devices cannot be overcome, research and development efforts will not advance as they have in the past."

Purdue researchers led by Klimeck, a professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, have developed software called NEMO5 that could help the semiconductor industry overcome this challenge. Klimeck said NEMO5 provides strong modeling and simulation at the nanometer level to support research and development.

"The new trend in the industry is to enter new materials into the design of these devices. NEMO5 allows design exploration in a virtual space where the concepts of new devices and new materials are merging," he said. "Changes in device geometries and constituent materials can be explored more rapidly in a simulation before costly and time-consuming experiments are conducted. This helps to reduce the cost of development."

NEMO5 has been exclusively licensed to NEMOco through the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization. More than 20 startups based on Purdue intellectual property were launched in the 2014 fiscal year. A video about NEMOco is available at http://youtu.be/pvXMh_8AZuY.

Klimeck said NEMO5 powers eight applications on nanoHUB, an online resource for nanoscience and nanotechnology created by the National Science Foundation-funded Network for Computational Nanotechnology. The Klimeck research group has served more than 18,500 users with more than 350,000 NEMO-based simulations run in nanoHUB's science computing cloud. More than 3,400 of these users were part of over 300 classes in universities around the world.

"nanoHUB serves more than 330,000 users annually with nanotechnology seminars, tutorials and classes. Over 13,500 users run simulations annually in this end-to-end science computing cloud without installing any software," he said. "As such, nanoHUB is a model for software-as-a-service and NEMOco will explore avenues to distribute software in such modes."

Klimeck said NEMOco has begun reaching out to existing software vendors with consulting services and to electronics manufacturing companies about embedding and integrating NEMO5 into their products.

"In our research group at Purdue, we have achieved a tremendous capability of modeling next-generation transistors and second-next-generation transistors. NEMOco moves this capability into usability for a broader set of customers that has this design need," he said. "It's exciting to be at the forefront of a $300 billion global industry that needs to design these transistors."

For information on other Purdue intellectual property ready for licensing and commercialization, visit otc-prf.org. For more information about available leadership positions, investing in a Purdue startup or licensing a Purdue innovation, visit http://www.purduefoundry.com.

About NEMOco

NEMOco is a new startup company geared toward the commercialization of the NEMO software framework. Through licensing and consulting services, NEMOco will help customers to overcome transistor and semiconductor device design challenges.

About Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization

The Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization operates one of the most comprehensive technology transfer programs among leading research universities in the U.S. Services provided by this office support the economic development initiatives of Purdue University and benefit the university's academic activities. The office is managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, which received the 2014 Incubator Network of the Year from the National Business Incubation Association for its work in entrepreneurship. For more information about funding and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at foundry@prf.org 

Purdue Research Foundation contact: Steve Martin, 765-588-3342, sgmartin@prf.org 

Source: Gerhard Klimeck, gekco@purdue.edu 


NEMOco commercializes the nanoelectronic modeling software NEMO5 to enable the design and optimization for a variety of nanoscale devices. NEMOco is one of more than 20 startups created in fiscal year 2014 from Purdue University innovations. (NEMOco image)

A publication-quality photo is available at https://www.purdue.edu/uns/images/2014/klimeck-nemoco.jpg

Note to journalists: Here is a link for a video that accompanies this story: http://youtu.be/pvXMh_8AZuY

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