General News

50th anniversary of the Laboratory for Microelectronics

Publish date: 06.02.2020

On Friday, December 20, 2019, The Laboratory for Microelectronics of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, University of Ljubljana, celebrated its 50th anniversary.

An important anniversary was marked by the speakers of the dean of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, prof. dr. Gregor Dolinar, former dean of the Faculty prof. dr. Janez Nastran, CEO of RLS: Rotary and linear motion sensors Janez Novak and development director of Iskra Avtoelektrika mr. Robert Žerjal. Head of the laboratory prof. dr. Janez Trontelj summed up the historical successes, challenges and triumphs of the Laboratory for Microelectronics of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering at the University of Ljubljana. President of the MIDEM Society (Society for microelectronics, electronic components and materials) prof. dr. Marko Topič, presented the laboratory with an acknowledgment for its outstanding contribution to scientific research, development and innovation, as well as its continued support for professional and social activities.

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Historical overview

The Laboratory for Microelectronics was established at the end of the seventies in collaboration with American Micro-Systems, which funded the production of micro-circuits. Co-ownership of the Iskra Elektro-optika allowed to carry out many advanced and successful products such as mini telephone switchboard, precision scales, etc. The establishment of the cutting-edge technology of thin film integrated circuits for the needs of Slovenian industry in the seventies of the last century requested a highest level of professionalism and reliability. The fab for integrated circuits production was unique for South East Europe and an important part for developement of the defense systems for that time.

In laboratory a hybrid integrated circuits were developed with the highest level of reliability, for example, a laser rangefinder, which was the flagship product and has made Iskra elektro-optika one of the world’s top suppliers during the period of the late seventies. The first integrated telephone in CMOS technology was designed and produced in LMFE. The license for the production has been sold in the United States and Japan. The first product was followed by subsequent versions, which have won almost every continent and have been  commonly produced in quantities of 100 millions. Also the design of the first 8-bit microcomputer, for the time being the most advanced one,  including input-output units, program memory, etc. was done in LMFE at that time.  In the eighties they developed and manufactured integrated circuits for surface-to-air missiles with superior sensor management system that can cope with the invisible stealth.

Slovenes have left a wide trail in Silicon Valley and wrote the first book on the design of mixed circuits ASIC. At the end of the eighties the members of the laboratory for microelectronics led lectures for primarily American and Japanese experts at Stanford University in California. IEEE published the first educational video cassette for design of integrated circuits-systems with analog and digital signals.