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Notre Dame Spin-out Company Wins Big at International Conference on Microelectronics

Nina Welding • DATE: December 3, 2014

Indiana Integrated Circuits, LLC (IIC), an Innovation Park-based company that was co-founded by Notre Dame faculty and researchers, has recently been awarded the highly coveted, $150,000 Elevator Pitch Prize from the MEMS (Microelectromechanical Systems) Industry Group. The prize is directed toward fabrication and prototyping services to be provided by MEMs foundry Rogue Valley Microdevices of Medford, Oregon.

Beating six other finalists from a range of international companies, start-ups, research groups, and individuals, IIC’s Jason Kulick won with his pitch on Quilt Packaging (QP), which is a new microchip packaging technology. QP chips have small metal nodules on each of their edges that allow them to communicate at a higher bandwidth with lower power, while also enabling sub-micron chip-to-chip alignment with dramatically reduced system costs. This revolutionary, high-density interconnection technology represents a major advance in the field of microelectronics packaging as it addresses current microelectronic systems issues associated with packaging losses and integration.

After successfully pitching the QP technology, Kulick, a Notre Dame alumnus and co-founder of IIC, said, “It is thrilling that IIC has been recognized with such a generous prize by the international industry group for MEMs. Not only does this validate the benefits and value of Quilt Packaging, but it provides us with the opportunity to take the technology to the next level, porting our processes into a larger scale fabrication facility, such as Rogue Valley, and gaining access to new customers.”

Quilt Packaging was invented by Gary Bernstein, Patrick Fay, Wolfgang Porod, and Qing Liu, who are faculty and researchers within Notre Dame’s College of Engineering. Bernstein co-founded IIC with then-researcher Jason Kulick, who is now President of the company. IIC is based within Innovation Park and remains closely linked with the University of Notre Dame.

Through Notre Dame’s external user access program, IIC utilizes the Notre Dame Nanotechnology Facility (NDNF) clean rooms and tools located in the Stinson-Remick Hall of Engineering. Its QP technology is also available in higher volumes through RTI International in Durham, North Carolina.

Notre Dame faculty member and IIC co-founder Gary Bernstein recognized the win as further validation of the University and the State of Indiana’s investments in technology education in the area. Bernstein said, “the consistent success of IIC and the increased traction of the technology with industry is a testament to Notre Dame’s commitment to creating a superb technology transfer ecosystem between the University and Innovation Park, as well as with other institutions in South Bend, such as Ivy Tech Community College’s nanotechnology program. A win like this is exactly what this ecosystem was designed to produce.”

IIC is currently working with a number of customers and clients on the implementation of QP into their process flows. Additionally, IIC performs proof-of-concept prototyping and development of application-specific solutions for clients. For more information, please see: http://www.indianaic.com/.

Courtesy of Joanne Fahey, Notre Dame Office of Research