Innovation and new inventions aim on products with small size, which at the same time serve the needs of users. This often seems to be the case in today's world of technology and innovation.
Those developments were made possible thanks to the research in the field of micro electronics; part of which was the design and prototyping of the ‘Integrated Circuit’ that today plays the major role of limiting the capacities of various appliances. In addition, this trend has made educational and industrial communities around the world to become interested in the study and advancement of knowledge in the field of micro-electronics.
For Thailand, the electronics industry is one of the important industries that, according to the National Economic and Social Development Plan Issue 7, need to be further developed. The development should rely on financial and treasury measures, measures to boost up capabilities concerning industrial technology and the application of industrial standard systems that will lead to the advancement of the economy of Thailand.
One shouldn't forget that the industry of micro-electronics is highly competitive and hence it is tremendously necessary for Thailand to develop the capabilities of anyone related to the industry and to change the role of this industry: from hired hand in assembling products (form of industrial activity that goes downstream to nowhere) to the producer of integrated circuits which is the industry that goes upstream to a valuable market.
Therefore, the National Electronics and Computer Technology Center had established the Research and Development Center for Micro-Electronics Technology - the name of which was changed to Thai Micro-Electronics Center (TMEC)- to be the centre of the research and development of micro-electronics technology. TMEC is also the first production plant in Thailand that produces integrated circuits which will enable the production of the prototype integrated circuits used in the training in academic institutes and in the industry. This complies with the main objective of the project which is to create educated and acknowledged personnel in the field of micro-electronics who will eventually become the source of knowledge and the foundation for turning micro-electronics industry into an important industry for Thailand.
On 3rd October 1995, the cabinet had the resolution to establish Thai Micro-Electronics Center or TMEC to establish production line and to produce ‘Application-Specific Integrated Circuit’ (ASIC) the size of which would be 0.5 micron. Other goals of the establishment of TMEC were to create personnel; to improve the micro-electronics industry of Thailand to meet international standards; and to pave the way that leads to innovation and the development of new technologies in the future.
To be a good alliance in the development of microelectronics institutions and industries
1. To enhance the capabilities of electronic industry in Thailand by developing microelectronic product prototypes and products for industrial applications, including promoting local IC design industry in Thailand.
2. To form high-level skilled personnel in microelectronics by collaborating with educational institutes and industries.
3. To establish knowledge base and engage in research and development over extensive areas of microelectronics and MEMs.
TMEC currently participates in the ITS Upgrade project and is involved in three main activities:
1) experimental characterization of the resistivity (SRP measurements) of the silicon wafers used for the fabrication of the new ITS pixel detectors
2) production of dummy silicon chips
3) development of the Si micro-channels frames using 6-inch wafers and further reduction of their material budget.
The team at TMEC is led by the director himself, Dr. Amporn Poyai, and two main researchers, Charndet Hruanun and Dr. Wutthinan Jeamsaksiri. Concerning the first and second activities, they have been working in close collaboration with Dr. Petra Riedler, the convener of the WP4 Sensor Post Processing and Mass test of the ITS Upgrade Project.
For the Si micro-channels, the original design has been done by a CERN Staff member, Dr. Alessandro Mapelli, and a CERN Doctoral Student, Dr. Andrea Francescon, for 18 months. A first prototype of the silicon micro-channels has been developed using 4-inch micro-channels and will be proposed in the TDR as one of the cooling options. All these processes have been done using the EPFL facility to fabricate the micro-channels and all the work is entirely done and paid by CERN.
TMEC has started to work on this project in May 2013, and so far a plan has been defined to produce the micro-channels frames using 6-inch wafers and further optimize the frame in terms of material budget. TMEC will work on photo mask making and micromachining process in its semiconductor process line.
The authors would like to thank Chinorat Kobdaj for his invaluable help in preparing this article and acknowledge his editorial efforts.