Category Archives: Manufacturing

By Maria Vetrano

As group vice president of the Analog & MEMS Group and general manager of the MEMS Sensor division at STMicroelectronics, Andrea Onetti brings nearly three decades of experience in MEMS, sensors and audio systems to his leadership role at one of the world’s most successful electronics and semiconductor manufacturers. During his keynote at FLEX and MEMS & Sensors Technical Congress 2019, February 18-21 in Monterey, Calif., Onetti will address the criticality of sensor accuracy in advancing automotive, industrial and consumer applications. SEMI’s Maria Vetrano spoke with Onetti recently to give FLEX/MSTC attendees a preview of his presentation.

SEMI: What are some promising advancements in sensors for autonomous cars?

Onetti: The avionics industry is already successfully applying sensors for autonomous operationl. Inertial navigation systems (INS) support the operation of planes during flight, both after takeoff and before landing. Unfortunately, the technology in these navigation systems is expensive and not scalable, and they are hampered by reliability limitations in an automotive environment.

Following the steady progress that we have made with MEMS inertial sensors in consumer applications, we are on the cusp of realizing greater accuracy in temperature and time – finally delivering the performance required for autonomous driving. Because we can scale in production – we’re now manufacturing more than a billion units a year – we can select the cream of this production crop for adoption in cars. Consequently, we should see Level 3 and Level 4 autonomous driving for consumers very soon.

SEMI: How are companies using sensors to monitor and track their assets in industrial applications?

Onetti: Predictive maintenance and asset tracking are the two main verticals in Smart Industry. The adoption of multiple sensors for condition monitoring is helping to detect the faulty operation of equipment and to detect early signs of issues that are otherwise difficult to capture.

Ultrasonic microphones can detect leaks in a pipe at an early stage, accelerometers with high bandwidth can act as micrometers, and accurate temperature sensors can catch overheating.

Similarly, in asset tracking, we use temperature monitoring in combination with inertial sensors to detect problems during the transport of goods. Shock sensors with extremely high full scale (up to 8000g) can tell whether a lightweight envelop has been dropped. Pressure sensors can switch off a radio system when a cargo plane takes off and can mute smart trackers in compliance with flight regulations. We really can do almost anything!

A full slate of ST sensors and microcontroller units (MCUs) enable WEG’s small but powerful motor sensor, which listens to a motor, feels its pain, and shares that information with engineers, operators and others to diagnose problems before they happen. Image courtesy of STMicroelectronics.

High-accuracy motion, environmental and proximity sensors are crucial to VR/AR. Image courtesy of STMicroelectronics.

SEMI: How will sensors advance user experiences in consumer electronics, such as VR/AR systems?

Onetti: Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are great examples of promising consumer technologies that will become pervasive as performance of inertial sensors improves. First, we need super accuracy in time and temperature to provide the right experience to users. To achieve this level of accuracy, we need a major step forward in performance, and that includes power consumption and miniaturization. Fortunately, we are constantly making progress in the high-accuracy motion, environmental and proximity sensors that are critical to these systems. While the scale is vastly different between VR/AR and automotive, the requirements for AR/VR systems are pretty similar to those that will enable autonomous cars.

A growing variety of sensors (environmental, microphone, proximity, motion) – combined with a sensor hub in an MCU – are central to VR controllers (above) and VR head mounted displays (below). Images courtesy of STMicroelectronics.

SEMI: We don’t hear much about the criticality of higher accuracy in sensors. Why is improving accuracy in sensors especially important – and what role do calibration routines play in achieving higher accuracy?

Onetti: A sensor is more than just the performance of the relevant function. It is also the intrinsic accuracy that it brings. This accuracy is tuned by calibration, which is typically an expensive process done at the end of product manufacturing or – better still – during earlier stages of manufacturing.

Today more applications require sensors with higher accuracy, which necessitates investing more time in calibration, leading to higher cost.

MEMS technology can help by offering solutions with intrinsic higher accuracy, which reduces the cost of calibration for product manufacturers. This naturally delivers major benefits to OEMs and, ultimately, their customers.

SEMI: What would you like FLEX and MSTC attendees to take away from your presentation?

Onetti: As attendees explore the wide variety of available sensor solutions for their end products, I would ask them to prioritize the role of accuracy in sensor selection – because improved accuracy means higher quality data, and higher quality data means better decisions with reduced need for data processing.

While designers understand the role of calibration routines in qualifying individual components for specific applications, it is the continuous evolution of MEMS technology that offers the best possibility of breakthrough reductions in time and cost of these calibration routines. This makes MEMS sensors more attractive and affordable than similar sensor components based on different technologies.

Source: SEMI Blog

Leveraging respective leadership technologies in sensors and IoT connectivity, Integrated Device Technology, Inc. (IDT) and Telink Semiconductor are announcing a partnership to create connected and integrated sensor platforms for IoT applications. These platforms enable a wide variety of IoT use cases, such as environmental sensing, health and fitness monitoring, connected smart buildings, as well as asset identification, position and location tracking.

IDT plans to release the new Bluetooth Low Energy 5 module featuring Telink’s 32-bit microcontroller core with better power-balanced performance for battery-operated devices. The Bluetooth module has an integrated 2.4GHz RF transceiver supporting the IEEE802.15.4 multi-standard wireless protocol along with audio support.

“We are excited about Telink’s technology and how it will augment our existing sensor technology and connectivity platform,” said Sailesh Chittipeddi, IDT’s executive vice president for global operations and chief technology officer. “With this partnership, we will be able to address markets together that we weren’t fully capable of with our standalone solutions.”

“IDT’s integrated sensors and applications combined with Telink’s third generation, ultra-low power connectivity ICs – specifically designed to enable cost sensitive applications – give high-performance options without compromise to connected sensing product designers,” said Jim Wargnier, global VP of sales for Telink Semiconductor. “We look forward to pushing the boundaries with IDT on this exciting platform.”

SEMI, the global industry association serving the electronics manufacturing supply chain, today announced the appointment of John Chong, vice president of product and business development at MEMS manufacturer Kionix, as Governing Council chair of the SEMI-MEMS & Sensors Industry Group (SEMI-MSIG), a SEMI Strategic Association Partner. The Council provides guidance and oversight for SEMI-MSIG’s strategic direction and initiatives.

As chairman, Dr. Chong, a member of the SEMI-MSIG Governing Council since 2015, will work to advance the interests of the MEMS and sensors community globally and drive its expansion. Spurred by surging growth in smartphones, smart speakers, autonomous cars, and fitness and healthcare wearables, the global market for MEMS and sensors is expected to double in the next five years, reaching $100 billion by 2023, according to Yole Développement, a market research firm.

“John’s technical expertise and industry insights have been great assets to SEMI-MSIG,” said Michael Ciesinski, vice president of Technology Communities at SEMI. “We are pleased that he will now focus his leadership on programs designed to deepen industry collaboration, drive innovation, and seize the tremendous market opportunity that lies ahead. Further, as we make this leadership transition, SEMI gratefully acknowledges the many contributions of our past chair, Dave Kirsch, vice president and general manager of EV Group.”

Among other achievements, Kirsch led the successful integration of MSIG with SEMI in 2016.

Dr. Chong brings to the chair rich industry experience. He leads Kionix’s growing portfolio of sensors and oversees its Software and Solutions Development Center. Before joining Kionix in 2006, Dr. Chong led the development of optical MEMS at Calient Networks. He holds multiple patents and has spoken extensively at industry conferences about the role of sensors in the Internet of Things (IoT). Dr. Chong earned his B.S. and Ph.D. in electrical engineering at Cornell University, where he worked on novel techniques for the design and manufacturing of Microfludic MEMS.

“I am excited by the central role MEMS and sensors will play in the age of IoT, artificial intelligence (AI), and autonomous agents,” Dr. Chong said. “With collaboration and coordination within the industry critical to its prosperity, SEMI-MSIG is key in providing the vision, resources and platform necessary to enable innovation and get business done.”

SEMI has also appointed Becky Oh, president and CEO of PNI Sensors, as SEMI-MSIG vice-chair. During her 20 years at PNI Sensors, Oh has held a range of senior-level positions, from operations to technical business development, and spearheaded the company’s entrance into the IoT market. She received an M.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University and a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT.

By Heidi Hoffman, senior director of technology community marketing, SEMI

This year’s MEMS & Sensors Technical Congress(MSTC), February 19-20, 2019, features a deep dive into the changing automotive sensor landscape, a look at emerging MEMS technologies, and an exploration of integration standards. The more technically focused of SEMI’s annual MEMS events, MSTC returns to Monterey, California, in conjunction with FLEX, the conference that highlights new form factors enabled by advances in flexible, printed and hybrid electronics.

What’s next for automotive sensors

Leading technologists from across the automotive sensor value chain will share their views on emerging opportunities and challenges in that rapidly evolving market. Ford Motor Co. Executive Technical Director, Palo Alto Research Center, Dragos Maciuca will give an update on the changing demands of the market in his keynote. Another keynoter, ON SemiconductorCTO Hans Stork will focus on recent developments in sensors and integration technology, and the remaining challenges to integrate these complex data streams into cost-effective intelligent sensor fusion.

PNI Sensor President & CEO Becky Oh will report on advancements in smart parking sensor solutions and their deployment in smart cities. VerizonProduct Manager Nancy Ranxing Li will introduce Verizon’s data-driven approach to reduce injury and death in traffic accidents. Featuring an integrated sensor system that detects and analyzes conflicts among pedestrians, vehicles and cyclists, the Verizon system identifies potentially dangerous situations at intersections. Cities can use the data to make changes to improve safety while 5G-enabled self-driving cars can use the data to prevent accidents. Fabu Head of Marketing Angela Suen will discuss Fabu’s experience in applying machine learning to sensor integration data. Analog Devices, GM, Inertial Sensors, Tony Zarola will address nuances of autonomous transportation, including maintaining navigation assistance when vehicle sensors “go blind” as well as vehicle health-monitoring.

Emerging MEMS technologies

Other sessions feature major MEMS makers and researchers sharing innovations on a wide range of technology challenges: from reducing power consumption and increasing intelligence in sensors to MEMS motors, analog in-memory computing, and human/electronics interfaces.

UC Berkeley Professor Kristofer Pister will introduce the next generation of low-power wireless sensor networks, which now featuring self-contained power, MEMS sensors, microwatt computation and communication hardware. Now being demonstrated at UC Berkeley, the ultra-high-reliability devices offer the 10ms latency suitable for factory automation. Pister will also discuss ultra-efficient MEMS motors for wirelessly controlled haptics as well as micro robots for precision manipulation.

Syntiant Corp. VP of Product Mallik Moturi will report on the company’s neural decision processors, which use analog in-memory computing for ultra-low-power parallel processing. The company says that the devices are being designed into multiple kinds of edge devices, particularly for always-on speaker identification and key-word spotting for under 40µW—reportedly 50-100X more efficient than a GPU.

STMicroelectronic sSenior Manager, MEMS, Jay Esfandyari will discuss how the integration of logic into MEMS inertial measurement units (IMUs) enables independently programmable gesture recognition algorithms on the IMU – enabling a range of motion-detection gestures at a fraction of the power of running the algorithms on an external microcontroller. InvenSense CTO Peter Hartwell will share his company’s vision of the future in which sensors bridge the real and virtual worlds. Arm Senior Product Manager Tim Menasveta will explore Arm’s work in extending machine learning to resource-constrained embedded devices.

Georgia Tech Research Fellow Yun-Soung Kim will present a new wireless skin-like electronics platform for persistent human-machine interfaces. The platform — SKINTRONICS — combines thin-film processes, soft material engineering and miniature chip components to adapt electronics that conform to the soft, curvilinear and dynamic human body. Georgia Tech researchers have demonstrated using SKINTRONICS-enabled wireless human-machine interfaces to send electrical signals from the human body to control remotely a car and a wheelchair.

In the area of improving manufacturing technology and standards, Siemens/Mentor GM Greg Lebsackwill discuss the challenges and opportunities of co-design of MEMS and ICs for a more robust system and faster time to market. Lebsack will look at the design flow and the ecosystem of mixed-signal design tools and IP blocks for innovative system solutions for the IoT. NIST Project Leader Michael Gaitan will discuss improved test protocols for tri-axis MEMS accelerometers that better determine cross-axis sensitivities and are less sensitive to misalignment of devices on the test equipment, promoting more accurate testing in laboratory comparisons. Intel Platform Manager Ken Foust will discuss the impact and future of the MIPI I3C standard — a two-wire interface developed to address many key pain-points universally felt by system developers struggling to integrate broad sensor capability into their platforms.

MSTC is organized by MEMS & Sensors Industry Group, SEMI technology community.


Researchers from the University of Houston have reported significant advances in stretchable electronics, moving the field closer to commercialization.

Researchers from the University of Houston have reported significant advances in the field of stretchable, rubbery electronics. Credit: University of Houston

In a paper published Friday, Feb. 1, in Science Advances, they outlined advances in creating stretchable rubbery semiconductors, including rubbery integrated electronics, logic circuits and arrayed sensory skins fully based on rubber materials.

Cunjiang Yu, Bill D. Cook Assistant Professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Houston and corresponding author on the paper, said the work could lead to important advances in smart devices such as robotic skins, implantable bioelectronics and human-machine interfaces.

Yu previously reported a breakthrough in semiconductors with instilled mechanical stretchability, much like a rubber band, in 2017.

This work, he said, takes the concept further with improved carrier mobility and integrated electronics.

“We report fully rubbery integrated electronics from a rubbery semiconductor with a high effective mobility … obtained by introducing metallic carbon nanotubes into a rubbery semiconductor with organic semiconductor nanofibrils percolated,” the researchers wrote. “This enhancement in carrier mobility is enabled by providing fast paths and, therefore, a shortened carrier transport distance.”

Carrier mobility, or the speed at which electrons can move through a material, is critical for an electronic device to work successfully, because it governs the ability of the semiconductor transistors to amplify the current.

Previous stretchable semiconductors have been hampered by low carrier mobility, along with complex fabrication requirements. For this work, the researchers discovered that adding minute amounts of metallic carbon nanotubes to the rubbery semiconductor of P3HT – polydimethylsiloxane composite – leads to improved carrier mobility by providing what Yu described as “a highway” to speed up the carrier transport across the semiconductor.

CEA-Leti today announced it has prototyped a next-generation optical chemical sensor using mid-infrared silicon photonics that can be integrated in smartphones and other portable devices.

Mid-IR chemical sensors operate in the spectral range of 2.5µm to 12µm, and are considered the paradigm of innovative silicon-photonic devices. In less than a decade, chemical sensing has become a key application for these devices because of the growing potential of spectroscopy, materials processing, and chemical and biomolecular sensing, as well as security and industrial applications. Measurement in this spectral range provides highly selective, sensitive and unequivocal identification of chemicals.

The coin-size, on-chip, IoT-ready sensors prototyped by Leti combine high performance and low power consumption and enable such consumer uses as air-quality monitoring in homes and vehicles, and wearable health and well-being applications. Industrial uses include real-time air-quality monitoring and a range of worker-safety applications.

Mid-IR optical sensors available on the market today are typically bulky, shoebox-size or bigger, and cost more than €10,000. Meanwhile, current miniaturized and inexpensive sensors cannot meet consumer requirements for accuracy, selectivity and sensitivity. While size and price are not the most critical concerns for industrial applications, bulky and costly optical sensors represent a major barrier for consumer applications, which require wearability and integration in a range of portable devices.

CEA-Leti presented its R&D results Feb. 05 at SPIE Photonics West 2019 in a paper titled “Miniaturization of Mid-IR Sensors on Si: Challenges and Perspectives”.

“Mid-IR silicon photonics has enabled creation of a novel class of integrated components, allowing the integration at chip level of the main building blocks required for chemical sensing,” said Sergio Nicoletti, lead author of the paper. “Key steps in this development extend the wavelength range available from a single source, handling and routing of the beams using photonic-integrated circuits, and the investigation of novel detection schemes that allow fully integrated on-chip sensing.”

CEA-Leti’s breakthrough combined three existing technologies necessary to produce on-chip optical chemical sensors:

  • Integrating a mid-IR laser on silicon
  • Developing photonic integrated circuits (PICs) in the mid-IR wavelength range, and
  • Miniaturizing a photoacoustic detector on silicon chips.

“While other R&D efforts have had similar results, our project’s key achievement is the use of tools and processes typical of the IC and MEMS industries,” Nicoletti said. “Our focus on the choice of the architectures and processes, and the specific linkage of the series of steps also were critical to developing this optical chemical sensor, which CEA-Leti is now realizing as demo prototypes.”

It’s chilly!

January 16, 2019

By Walt Custer

4Q’18 World Electronic Supply Chain – Slowing Electronic Equipment Growth

Custer Consulting Group has its first estimate of global electronic equipment growth in 4Q’18 vs. 4Q’17. Chart 1 compares the combined sales of a 213-company OEM composite to regional electronic equipment shipments. The composite is based on individual company financial reports. While fourth-quarter results for this group won’t be available until February, the regional model (driven by early reported Taiwan/China results) points to world electronic end market growth declining from +10% in 3Q’18 vs. 3Q’17 to +2% in 4Q’18 vs. 4Q’17.

These results are still preliminary, but Chart 1 gives an early indication of the magnitude and trajectory of slowing electronic equipment growth.

Chart 2 shows consolidated monthly sales from our regional electronic equipment model where December 2018 global revenues declined 1.8% vs. December 2017 and were down 0.9% sequentially vs. November 2018. Note the very predictable seasonality and the apparent “peaking” of 2018 sales in November – with a likely sharp drop in early 2019.

Sources: Company financial reports and USA, Europe, Japan, China/Taiwan and South Korea regional data as analyzed by Custer Consulting Group.

Wafer Foundry Sales – Leading Indicator for Semiconductors and Semiconductor Equipment

December monthly sales have been reported by Taiwan-listed wafer fabs.

  • Wafer foundry revenues dropped in December, suggesting a coming decline in global semiconductor and semiconductor equipment shipments (Chart 3). Foundry sales have historically been a leading indicator for both chips and semiconductor equipment.

  • Taiwan wafer foundry revenues, world semiconductor sales and the Global Purchasing Managers Index 3/12 growth rates all point to further slowing ahead (Chart 4).

Source: Company financial reports

Semiconductor Industry Business Cycles

Semiconductor shipment growth (although still positive) peaked in early 2018 (Chart 5).  Globally it was up only 4.6% in November 2018 versus the same month a year earlier and its trajectory is pointing down. This compares to +23.7% growth in December 2017.

Semiconductor equipment shipments (Chart 6) actually contracted 0.6% globally for just the month of November 2018 vs. November 2017. They are traditionally more volatile than semiconductor sales.

The normal winter seasonal industry slowdown is upon us and it is being overlaid with economic softness, political uncertainty, product (memory) shifts and general industry weakening.

Walt Custer of Custer Consulting Group is an analyst focused on the global electronics industry. He can be reached at [email protected]

A NIMS-led research group succeeded in developing a high-quality diamond cantilever with among the highest quality (Q) factor values at room temperature ever achieved. The group also succeeded for the first time in the world in developing a single crystal diamond microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) sensor chip that can be actuated and sensed by electrical signals. These achievements may popularize research on diamond MEMS with significantly higher sensitivity and greater reliability than existing silicon MEMS.

Micrographs of the diamond MEMS chip developed through this research and one of the diamond cantilevers integrated into the chip. Credit: NIMS

MEMS sensors–in which microscopic cantilevers (projecting beams fixed at only one end) and electronic circuits are integrated on a single substrate–have been used in gas sensors, mass analyzers and scanning microscope probes. For MEMS sensors to be applied in a wider variety of fields, such as disaster prevention and medicine, their sensitivity and reliability need to be further increased. The elastic constant and mechanical constant of diamond are among the highest of any material, making it promising for use in the development of highly reliable and sensitive MEMS sensors. However, three-dimensional microfabrication of diamond is difficult due to its mechanical hardness. This research group developed a “smart cut” fabrication method which enabled microprocessing of diamond using ion beams and succeeded in fabricating a single crystal diamond cantilever in 2010. However, the quality factor of the diamond cantilever was similar to that of existing silicon cantilevers because of the presence of surface defects.

The research group subsequently developed a new technique enabling atomic-scale etching of diamond surfaces. This etching technique allowed the group to remove defects on the bottom surface of the single crystal diamond cantilever fabricated using the smart cut method. The resulting cantilever exhibited Q factor values–a parameter used to measure the sensitivity of a cantilever–greater than one million; among the world’s highest. The group then formulated a novel MEMS device concept: simultaneous integration of a cantilever, an electronic circuit that oscillates the cantilever and an electronic circuit that senses the vibration of the cantilever. Finally, the group developed a single crystal diamond MEMS chip that can be actuated by electrical signals and successfully demonstrated its operation for the first time in the world. The chip exhibited very high performance; it was highly sensitive and capable of operating at low voltages and at temperatures as high as 600°C.

These results may expedite research on fundamental technology vital to the practical application of diamond MEMS chips and the development of extremely sensitive, high-speed, compact and reliable sensors capable of distinguishing masses differing by as light as a single molecule.

Vertiv announced today that it has completed the purchase of the maintenance business of MEMS Power Generation (MEMS), a privately-owned company headquartered in the United Kingdom that specializes in temporary power solutions. This marks the third acquisition for Vertiv, and is consistent with the company’s growth strategy. MEMS will now focus entirely on its generator rentals solutions business.

“The addition of the MEMS maintenance business is a natural fit for our existing U.K. business and we welcome MEMS’ more than 160 contract customers that we now have the opportunity to serve,” said Rob Johnson, Vertiv chief executive officer. “By strengthening our capability in generator maintenance, and expanding our service offerings in critical infrastructure in EMEA, we’re well positioned to offer customers an unmatched suite of services.”

“Since partnering with Vertiv in 2016, we continue to be impressed by the company’s vision and ability to execute strategic deals that serve to expand the business in key growth areas,” said Platinum Equity Partner Jacob Kotzubei. “The Vertiv management team continues to make smart investments to grow its global business and position the company for continued success.”

The 160 MEMS contract customers in the U.K. range from data centers to hospitals and universities to industrial companies and utilities. Vertiv will service the newly acquired MEMS customers with the Vertiv U.K. service team.

Vertiv and MEMS Power Generation closed the sale on Nov. 30, 2018. MEMS transferred all its service and maintenance contracts to Vertiv at that time.

The European Research Council (ERC) has just published the list of 27 projects it selected out of the 299 submitted to the ERC Synergy 2018 call for projects. Among them, the CEA’s laboratories have 3 winners.  In order to ensure Europe’s long-term competitiveness, the ERC’s mission is to support world-class frontier research of excellence through highly competitive calls for projects. With a budget of 250 million euros, the “Synergy” category supports two to four researchers and their teams from different laboratories to jointly carry out an ambitious research project over a six-year period. With 35 million euros in European subsidies granted to these three projects, this is a strong recognition of the expertise of the CEA and its partners within the European Research Area.

ReNewQuantum (for Recursive and Exact New Quantum)

While quantum physics is omnipresent in most recent science and technology, quantum theory needs mathematical tools. These are currently somewhat lacking, in particular for complex quantum systems and approximation methods.

This is why the ReNewQuantum project is aiming to develop a mathematical method of semi-classical approximation[1] of quantum theories, which could benefit the entire scientific community, whether it is working on chaotic systems, quantum field theories or string theory. Building on concrete success already achieved in some quantum systems, ReNewQuantum proposes using modern geometry to reinterpret quantum theories and, in particular, to reinterpret semi-classical corrections as geometric objects. The project aims for a better understanding of the entire set of corrections, which would enable more effective computing. The objective is therefore to generalize these geometric methods to create a mathematical applicable to almost all quantum theories.

QuCube (for 3D integration technology for silicon spin qubits)[2]

Applied to the field of computing, quantum physics could revolutionize high performance computing, theoretically solving problems that conventional supercomputers are unable to solve. All major industries (transport, finance, energy, chemistry, pharmaceuticals, etc.) could benefit from quantum computing. In practice, this research has produced the first proofs of concept for quantum bits – the quantum equivalent of the most basic bit in elementary computing – but it is not yet certain that these first demonstrations can be reproduced on a large scale. In this context, the QuCube project aims to develop a quantum processor based on silicon, the base material already used in what is known as classical electronics. The processor will support at least one hundred quantum bits, or qubits, currently a first in terms of qubit numbers. The success of the project requires technological breakthroughs, including architecture implementation, the control of quantum bit variability or the implementation of quantum error correction processes, and finally a thorough understanding of conventional control electronics, for example on issues related to thermal dissipation.

Whole Sun (for The Whole Sun Project: Untangling the complex physical mechanisms behind our eruptive magnetic star and its twins)[3]

Our Sun is an active magnetic star that, due to its variable and eruptive behavior, has a direct impact on our technological society. However, despite decades of research, many questions remain unanswered. While this research into solar physics has so far focused on either the structure and dynamics of the inside of the Sun or, separately, on the surface and atmosphere of the Sun, the Whole Sun project aims to understand the Sun as a whole by consolidating research into these two major solar regions. A detailed study of the (thermo) dynamic and magnetic interaction between the deep solar interior, the surface of the Sun and the highly stratified atmosphere is absolutely vital if we hope to tackle the fundamental problems of solar physics (such as the origin of sunspots and the 11-year cycle; the presence of a warm atmosphere, etc.). In conjunction with the development of what is known as ‘exascale’ computers[4], Whole Sun will deliver the most advanced multi-resolution solar code in order to jointly address global and local, macrophysical and microphysical aspects of solar dynamics. Finally, extending this integrated approach led by Whole Sun to solar analogue stars that have different rotational speeds and chemical compositions will also provide a deeper understanding of stellar magnetism and activity.

[1] That is, starting from a classical system and calculating the successive quantum corrections.

[2] With CNRS and the participation of teams from the Université Grenoble Alpes.

[3] With the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (Germany), the University of Oslo (Norway) and the University of St Andrews (United Kingdom).

[4] Exascale computers are capable of performing a billion billion calculations per second. CEA is actively involved in working to develop this new generation of supercomputers.

[5] Not including these three new Synergy projects.