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20% of the global energy production soon will be consumed by Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and the consumption will be further accelerated with rapid and broad adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) where demand on energy-hungry machine learning models is increasing. NOEMIA will develop a fundamentally novel energy-efficient hardware alternative for machine learning by using nanoscale opto-electro-mechanical (NOEM) technology. The NOEMIA consortium consists of 5 institutions from 5 different countries with complementary expertise in nanodevice fabrication and advanced nanophotonics (UK), MEMS and optomechanical characterisation (France), Si-photonics and GeSn photodetectors (Taiwan), laser annealing and material modification (Latvia), and theory on nonlinear oscillators and thermodynamics (Czech Republic).  The final demonstrator of NOEMIA is a world-first four NOEM coupled oscillator arrays integrated with GeSn photodetectors fabricated via fully Si-compatible technologies. Active integration of silicon photonics components with nanomechanical oscillators will allow us to detect sub-nW oscillation with excellent sensitivity and minimal energy loss. The dynamic behaviour and scalability will be explored theoretically and device and material-level system tunability will be investigated towards the application for Physical Reservoir Computing, a fast, simple, and energy-efficient option of machine learning. Successful demonstration of novel NOEM integrated oscillator arrays with NOEMIA will make a significant impact on the development of next generation AI hardware, the most exciting research field in ICT.

The main objective of NOEMIA project is perfectly aligned with one of the target outcomes of the call, “Development of arrays of NOEMS for computing architecture.” The outcome of the project will be a breakthrough for alternative energy-efficient computing architecture beyond CMOS-based technology. NOEMIA is also addressing two more target outcomes, “Miniaturisation of NOEMS and integration with circuits on a single device,” and “Advanced fabrication technologies, exploiting silicon or heterogeneous materials to aid integration.” The project will develop true nanoscale 100 MHz coupled oscillators and active integration with Si photonics devices. While the device development in NOEMIA is sticking to Si compatible fabrication to take advantage of the worlds-most advanced technology in ICT, the project will explore the integration of heterogeneous Group IV materials and material characteristics modification via laser annealing processes. Most important, the developed computing system can operate in the entire telecommunication windows, thus suitable for ICT applications. Overall, the NOEMIA project is highly relevant to the objectives of the Chist-Era NOEMS for ICT call.

Call Topic: Nano-Opto-Electro-Mechanical Systems for ICT (NOEMS), Call 2021
Start date: (36 months)
Funding support: 1 165 781,5 €

Project partners

  • University of Southampton - United Kingdom (coordinator)
  • CNRS - Délégation Régionale Hauts-de-France - France
  • Pavels Onufrijevs - Latvia
  • National Taiwan University - Taiwan
  • Czech Academy of Science - Czech Republic