Since the first silicon transistor developed in Bell Labs in 1954, the development of silicon based digital electronics have come a very long and prosperous way to the modern world of VLSI and MEMS devices.
Modern VLSI devices can house millions of transistors on a single wafer, while MEMS combines electronic and mechanical components in a single chip. While their growth has had been morethan satisfactory, they are quicly approaching the end of their Era.
Present VLSI systems are ridden with problems. An engineer has to keep up with very strict set of rules to ensure success at the first make of the chip, as iterative correction of the die mask is very expensive. Not only that, the future of the CMOS technology seen to be rather blank. Moore's law, formulated in the 1975, predicted a doubling of transistor number (a good indicator of processing capacity) in an IC every two years - but it seems to have hit an windstill. While this certainly does not mean an abrupt break on the industry, the growth potential is seriously decreased. Without an definite single solution in sight, experts propose R&D of high risk high payoff technologies.
Modern digital ICs are very limited in their constraints too. Billions of processors for personal devices are produced every year. But these devices cannot, for example, work in the solar radiation in open space. Manufacturing the radiation shielded electronics is very expensive.
So time has come to investigate alternatives. Contemporarily, DARPA is investigating the use of miniaturized vaccum tubes as a possible electronic component, as they are immune to space radiation.
Under this ligt, we propose an European initiative :
We are looking for investors and other interested partners.