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H2020 Projects

BEFERROSYNAPTIC: is an innovative H2020 RIA project with 11 partners, aiming at realizing a prototypical neuromorphic processor based on ferroelectric devices.

Coordinator: Dr. Stefan Slesazeck (NaMLab gGmbH)

Duration: thirtysix months, from 01/01/2020 to 31/12/2022

Funding: IU.NET share € 303.250

IU.NET units involved: Università di Udine e di Modena e Reggio Emilia. IUNET internal coordinator is Prof. David Esseni.

Description: The increasing amount of data that has to be processed in today’s electronic devices requires a transition from the conventional compute centric paradigm to a more data centric paradigm. In order to bridge the existing gap between memory and logic units that is known as the classical von Neumann bottleneck the concept of physical separation between computing and memory unit has to be repealed. Neuro inspired architectures constitute a promising solution where both logic and memory functionality become synergized together in one synaptic unit. Our project BeFerroSynaptic addresses the specific challenges of the H2020-WP 2018-2020 by targeting for the development of electronic synaptic devices based on one of the most power-efficient memory technologies – the ferroelectric polarization switching. The ultimate goal of the BeFerroSynaptic project is to develop a ‘ferrosynaptic’ technology platform featuring back-end-of-line (BEOL) integrated Hf(Zr)O2-based ferroelectric field-effect transistors (FeFETs) and ferroelectric tunnelling junctions (FTJs) on top of an existing CMOS technology. Our attempt is to demonstrate the feasibility (TRL 4) of the ‘ferrosynaptic’ concept in an extremely energy-efficient neuromorphic computing architecture. To ensure a realistic endeavour, the ambitious challenges will be tackled by building the complementary FTJ and FeFET device development on existing technologies and adapt it to BEOL integration on top of a CMOS technology, and building on existing neuromorphic processor designs that will be adapted to the ‘ferrosynaptic’ technology. The BeFerroSynaptic consortium assembles a significant amount of resources and expertise. It includes representatives both from the academic and research community as well as from industry. The consortium is composed of 11 partners, of which 5 RTOs partners (CEA, NaMLab, NCSRD, IUNET, HZB), 4 universities (UZH, ETH, UNIBI, TUD as project consultant) and 2 industrial partners (XFAB, IBM).  

INFET (Ionic Neuromodulation For Epilepsy Treatment): is a H2020 FETOPEN project that gathers research groups in neuroscience, electrochemistry and electronic nanotechnology with IBM Zurich and Univ. Sheffield as main technological partners.


Coordinator: Scuola Internazionale Superiore Di Studi Avanzati Di Trieste – SISSA (IT)


Duration: fourtytwo months, from 01/1/2020 to 30/6/2023

Funding: IU.NET share € 430.000

IU.NET units involved: Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Università di Udine. The IUNET internal project coordinator is Prof. Luca Selmi.


Description: There is a need for a paradigm shift in the treatment of drug-resistant epilepsy. Several routes have been explored to modulate or silence dysfunctional neural circuits, through genetic, electrical, magnetic or optical means. All have serious limitations due to the unphysiological mechanisms used to regulate neuronal activity. In IN-FET, we address this issue by manipulating the elementary building blocks of cell excitability: ions. IN-FET tackles the visionary idea of altering neuronal firing and synaptic transmission by direct ionic actuation at the microscopic scale, while monitoring cell responses by arrays of nanoscale transistors. We will develop and test, in vitro, the use of active polymers to trap or release electrochemically

specific ions in the extracellular milieu surrounding neurons. These will be integrated with ion sensors and ultra-sensitive nanowire arrays, offering closed-loop regulation of cellular electrical activity. We will deliver for the first time a device that can physiologically modulate the neuronal membrane potential, the synaptic release probability, and glutamatergic NMDA receptors activation by altering potassium, calcium, and magnesium ionic concentrations in a controlled and spatially confined manner. High-resolution simultaneous probing of cell activity will be performed by Si-nanowire vertical transistors, penetrating the membranes and detecting the cell electrical activity at unprecedented spatial and temporal resolutions. In conclusion, IN-FET's multidisciplinary consortium brings together state-of-the-art electrochemistry, 3-d nanofabrication,

nanoelectronics, and numerical simulations, and combines neuronal biophysics to device modeling. IN-FET will thus establish the proof-of-principle for a breakthrough biocompatible neuromodulation technology, with a clear impact for future brain implants for epilepsy treatment, advancing neuroscience, biomedical microsystems engineering, and nanoneurotechnology.


NEREID: Nano-Electronics Roadmap for Europe: Identification and Dissemination

Coordinator: coordinated from the administrative point of view of the Politecnico di Grenoble and scientifically by Enrico Sangiorgi.

Duration: thirtysix months, from 16/11/2015 to 15/11/2019
Funding: IU.NET share € 47.000
Participants: INPG (Grenoble, FR), SINANO INSTITUTE (Grenoble, FR), EDAC GmbH (Hrannover, DE); EPLF (Lausanne, CH); FRAUNHOFER (Munchen, DE); ICN2 (Barcelona, ES); IMEC (Leuven, BE); IU.NET (Bologna, IT); CEA (Paris, FR); POLITO (Turin, IT); TYNDALL-UCC (Cork, IR); VTT (Espoo, FL); AENEAS (Paris, FR).
IU.NET units involved: University of Padua. The internal scientific director is Prof. Gaudenzio Meneghesso.
Description: The aim of the project is to develop a new nano-electronics roadmap, focused on the requirements of the European semiconductor industry and electronic systems, with the involvement of major European research centers. The end result will be a roadmap for micro- and nano-electronics, with a clear identification of short, medium and long-term goals.


“Radiation Hard Resistive Random-Access Memory”

Coordinator: Prof. Christian Wenger (IHP)

Duration: twentyfour months, from 01/01/2015 to  31/12/2017
Funding: IU.NET share € 195,000
Participants: IHP (Frankfurt Oder, DE), RedCat Devices (Pavia, IT), University of Jyväskylä (Jyväskylä, FI) and IU.NET.
IU.NET units involved: University of Ferrara and Calabria. The internal scientific director is Prof. Piero Olivo.

Description: The project aims to develop a methodology for the development and design of non-volatile radiation tolerant memories, based on standard CMOS processes. Since silicon commercial memories, such as flash memories, are susceptible to irradiation failure, a new approach aimed at the development of random access resistive memories (RRAMs) has been identified, which have a strong ability to tolerate ion irradiation heavy and other particles. The switching effect of resistive RAM is determined by chemical reactions of reduction-oxidation (REDOX). Therefore, the effects of radiation do not interfere with the switching mechanism, both in the presence of high radiation doses and for single events. In space applications, volatile and non-volatile memories are integrated using standard processes and architectures. Consequently, the final device is typically "rad-tolerant" but not "rad-hard", and failure effects during space missions are mitigated by error correction and redundancy techniques, even at board level. The aim of the project is to provide a methodology for designing new "rad-hard" non-volatile memories with good retention and repeated re-programmability. A prototype of 1 Mbit of RRAM will also be implemented for the validation of the proposed method.

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