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Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre
TypeNonprofit company
IndustryNanoelectronics, digital technologies
GenreIndependent research center
Founded1984; 39 years ago (1984)
FounderRoger Van Overstraeten
Number of locations
Taiwan, Japan, United States, China, Netherlands and India
Key people
Luc Van den hove (President and CEO)
ServicesR&D, business incubation, IP licensing, prototyping, training, (...)
Revenue732 million Euro (2021)
Number of employees

Interuniversity Microelectronics Centre (IMEC) is an international research & development organization, active in the fields of nanoelectronics and digital technologies, with headquarters in Belgium. Luc Van den hove has served as President and CEO since 2009.[1]

In September 2016, imec merged with the Flemish digital research center, iMinds.[2]


Imec employs around 4,000 researchers from more than 90 countries; it has numerous facilities dedicated to research and development around the world, including 12,000 square meters of cleanroom capacity for semiconductor processing.[3] The imec headquarters are located in Leuven.


In 1982, the Flemish Government set up a program to strengthen the microelectronics industry in Flanders. This program included setting up a laboratory for advanced research in microelectronics (imec), a semiconductor foundry (former Alcatel Microelectronics, now STMicroelectronics and AMI Semiconductor,[4]) and a training program for VLSI design engineers. The latter is now fully integrated in the imec activities.

Imec was founded in 1984 as a non-profit organization led by Prof. Roger Baron Van Overstraeten. The name imec is an acronym of the original full name: Interuniversitair Micro-Electronica Centrum VZW. It is supervised by a Board of Directors, which includes delegates from industry, Flemish universities and the Flemish Government. Since 1984, imec has been led by Roger Van Overstraeten, Gilbert Declerck (as of June 1999), and Luc Van den Hove (as of July 2009).[1]

In February 2016, it was announced that imec would be merging with the Flemish digital research center, iMinds. The merge was finalized on September 21, 2016.[2]

Advanced Semiconductor Scaling[edit]

Imec is well-known for its expertise in shrinking circuitry and the applicability of nanotechnology in novel industries.[5] In 2015, The New York Times stated that imec has helped pioneer techniques to produce some of the world’s smallest and most sophisticated chips[6] and the centre is considered to be a world-leader in nanoelectronics research.[7][8]

In December 2022, imec signed a cooperation agreement with new Japanese venture Rapidus for production of 2 nm process semiconductor chips.[9]


Imec performs research in smart energy,[10] ranging from developing ways to actively and cost-effectively plan, deploy and manage smart grid networks up to improving the efficiency, production and storage cost of (solar) energy. Considerable advances have been made in solar cell and solid state battery technologies.[11][12][13]

Together with KU Leuven, VITO, and UHasselt, imec set up a separate R&D hub to perform research into sustainable energy and intelligent energy systems. The project is named EnergyVille and employs 400 researchers whose work centers around six interdisciplinary domains: photovoltaics, electrical and thermal storage, power control and conversion, electrical and thermal networks, buildings and districts, strategies and markets.[14]

Artificial Intelligence[edit]

Imec performs advanced research on artificial intelligence[15] and was awarded 750.000 USD twice in 2019 by DARPA in a machine-learning competition .

In a 2017 report, The Financial Times named imec’s self-learning neuromorphic chip one of the fifty ideas that will change the world and was described by the newspaper as having the potential to revolutionize computing.[16]

Smart Cities[edit]

In 2017, the Flemish government commissioned imec to support the 13 leading Flemish cities and the Flemish community in Brussels in their transition to becoming smart cities.[17] imec was also commissioned by the Flemish government and the City of Antwerp to create Europe’s largest lab for Internet of Things applications.[18][19][20][21][22][23]

Image Sensors and Vision Systems[edit]

In 2019, the state of Florida declared a partnership with imec to develop hyperspectral technology that is able to better detect invasive Burmese and rock pythons, which have been permanently damaging the Everglades’ eco-systems.[24]

Smart Health[edit]

Neuropixels Technology[edit]

The performance of the Neuropixels probes and their potential for transformational neuroscience experiments was described in a November 9, 2017 paper published in Nature.[25] In 2019, The New York Times reported that imec's Neuropixels technology is widely recognized as the most advanced method of gathering data from brain cells.[26]

Brain-On-Chip Research[edit]

In 2018, imec announced the creation of a research venture together with KU Leuven, UZ Leuven and VIB, called Mission Lucidity. The venture’s aim is to decode dementia.[27][28] imec is creating human-specific living brain models, so called 'brains-on-chips’ which automate and miniaturize human stem cell manipulations, and developing technology to generate programmable, instrumented 3D brain models with single-cell precision.[29] The project was supported by a Collaborative Science Award of one million dollars by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.[28]

Point of care blood test devices (Johns Hopkins University & miDiagnostics)[edit]

Peter Peumans, in charge of imec’s life science technologies program, helped found miDiagnostics and was appointed CTO. In 2019, NASA awarded funding to miDiagnostics to test a technology for monitoring astronauts’ health status under zero gravity conditions, with the aim of advancing space health diagnostics.[30]


Imec develops wearable devices.[31] Its technologies have gained several approvals by regulatory agencies such as the FDA and PMDA and have made contributions to at least one published study.[32]

Through its spinoff Bloomlife, imec develops pregnancy monitoring technology that tracks fetal health and fetal mobility , with the aim of giving pregnant women and their doctors better access to key details about fetal development.[33]

Other applications include ingestible gut sensors designed to capture mechanical, electrical, and chemical changes that occur during digestion, flagging abnormalities and problems while also delivering personalized nutrition advice.[34]


  1. ^ a b Abusol (2 June 2009). "IMEC names Luc Van den hove to serve as President and CEO - Leuven.Inc - Leuven Innovation Networking Circle". Archived from the original on 19 June 2018. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Newswire & Press Release / Merger Between Centers Imec and iMinds Completed - Electronics/Instrumentation/RFID - Imec | NewswireToday". 22 September 2016. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  3. ^ "Imec (Flanders) opens new state-of-the-art R&D center". Invest In Flanders. 9 November 2016. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  4. ^ "STMicroelectronics buys Alcatel microelectronics unit". Computerworld. Retrieved 2019-04-12.
  5. ^ "The brains behind your next gadget come from this obscure medieval town".
  6. ^ "Qualcomm in Venture With Chinese Chip Maker".
  7. ^ "New standard allows stacked dies in 3D integrated circuits to connect with test equipment".
  8. ^ "Evonetix collaborate with imec to scale-up chip-based technology production for third generation DNA synthesis platform".
  9. ^ Davis, Shannon (2022-12-07). "Imec and Rapidus Sign Memorandum of Cooperation to Collaborate on Advanced Semiconductor Technologies". Semiconductor Digest.
  10. ^ "Smart Energy".
  11. ^ "Imec Doubles Energy Density of its Solid-State Batteries".
  12. ^ "Imec simplifies i-PERC solar cell processing by implementing laser doping from ALD-Al2O3".
  13. ^ "IMEC presents large area solar cells with 18.4% conversion efficiency, featuring Cu-plated contacts".
  14. ^ "About EnergyVille".
  15. ^ "Manufacturing Bits: Dec. 16".
  16. ^ "Ideas to change the world — long-term potential or simply gimmicks?". Archived from the original on 2022-12-11. Retrieved 2020-03-30.
  17. ^ "Smart Flanders".
  18. ^ "Imec collaborates with City of Antwerp and Flanders to establish Smart City Living Lab".
  19. ^ "Alles wordt slim. Zelfs de autostrade".
  20. ^ "Slimme snelweg met pratende wagens moet verkeersdoden terugdringen".
  21. ^ "AI central to the FutureSummits by imec in Antwerp".
  22. ^ "High Tech Next offers a wide variety of speakers, topics".
  23. ^ "Singapore government warns digital revolution will impact jobs".
  24. ^ Driggers, R.; Furxhi, O.; Vaca, G.; Reumers, V.; Vazimali, M.; Short, R.; Agrawal, P.; Lambrechts, A.; Charle, W.; Vunckx, K.; Arvidson, C. (2019). "Burmese python target reflectivity compared to natural Florida foliage background reflectivity". Applied Optics. 58 (13): D98–D104. Bibcode:2019ApOpt..58D..98D. doi:10.1364/AO.58.000D98. PMID 31044871.
  25. ^ Jun, James J.; Steinmetz, Nicholas A.; Siegle, Joshua H.; Denman, Daniel J.; Bauza, Marius; Barbarits, Brian; Lee, Albert K.; Anastassiou, Costas A.; Andrei, Alexandru; Aydın, Çağatay; Barbic, Mladen (November 2017). "Fully integrated silicon probes for high-density recording of neural activity". Nature. 551 (7679): 232–236. doi:10.1038/nature24636. ISSN 1476-4687. PMC 5955206.
  26. ^ "Elon Musk's Neuralink Wants 'Sewing Machine-Like' Robots to Wire Brains to the Internet".
  27. ^ "200 Belgian experts must unravel secret Alzheimer's".
  29. ^ "A brain-on-a-chip towards a cure for Parkinson's disease".
  30. ^ "Imec awarded NASA grant to advance space health diagnostics".
  31. ^ "Wearables gradually move beyond the wrist, and into hearts and minds (literally)".
  32. ^ Blanco-Almazán, Dolores; Groenendaal, Willemijn; Catthoor, Francky; Jané, Raimon (2019). "Chest Movement and Respiratory Volume both Contribute to Thoracic Bioimpedance during Loaded Breathing". Scientific Reports. 9 (1): 20232. Bibcode:2019NatSR...920232B. doi:10.1038/s41598-019-56588-4. ISSN 2045-2322. PMC 6934864. PMID 31882841.
  33. ^ "Imec develops a wearable fetal ECG monitor for pregnant moms".
  34. ^ "The promise of 'ingestibles': In health care, the race is on to put sensors in your gut".

External links[edit]