Connecting the Chip

A specialised course on semiconductor technology hopes to bridge the gap of skilled professionals in the field. Gauri Rane reports

A specialised course on semiconductor technology hopes to bridge the gap of skilled professionals in the field. Gauri Rane reports
IIT-Mumbai in collaboration with Applied Materials, Inc., an equipment, services and software manufacturing company, is conducting a week-long, certificate course on Semiconductor Technology and Manufacturing (SCTM). Currently in its second year, the course is open to students, faculty and professionals. Saurabh Lodha, assistant professor, Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT-Bombay, said, “We are looking at conducting the programme twice a year.”

An innovative educational offering aiming to bridge the skills gap for semiconductor manufacturing in the country, the course has been conceptualized with “IIT Bombay as an extension of our partnership in the Center for Excellence in Nanoelectronics (CEN),” says Pravin K Narwankar, managing direcor, Applied Materials, Inc.

Earlier, CEN’s nano-manufacturing lab was not into training the students and researchers in semiconductor manufacturing. “We wanted people from industry as well as aspiring engineers to learn about the semiconductor chip manufacturing,” says Narwankar. Both Narwankar and Lodha agree that India has a strong and growing end-market in electronics, and has rapidly established a world-class VLSI (Very Large Scale Integration) design capability. “The part that was missing to complete the semiconductor eco-system was the manufacturing of the chips, a majority of which are presently imported,” informes Lodha

The SCTM programme module is a combination of training by professionals with semiconductor experience, and hands-on training on production level equipment. “This aspect was widely appreciated by all those who took the course last year,” informs Lodha. This training format helps students to get application oriented exposure to the theoretical principles that they have been exposed to in the classroom. “Semiconductor is a R&D intensive industry and the combination of theory and practice is critical to the students’ success,” Narwankar adds.
Last year, over 50 participants from industry and academia took the class. “The students were appreciative of the structure of the course. Now, we hope to further increase the lab time and hands-on portion,” informs Lodha.

Everyone is expecting an increase in the level of participation from the industry, thanks in large measure to the recent government announcement on the formation of the two semiconductor manufacturing fabrication units (Fabs). “In addition to those who will be directly employed in the Fabs, this course will have a lot of relevance to the entire supply chain that will be supporting the plant,” informs Lodha.

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