New fabs in Hong Kong support growing national hi-tech market

The Sensor Lab at Hong Kong Science Park boasts ISO Class 2 and 3 cleanrooms for basic processing steps in micro/nano sensor development

L-R: Hasan Gadjali, Co-Founder of Meridian Innovation Limited, and Dr Carmen Fung, Senior Manager, Electronics Cluster, Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation, in the ISO Class 2 cleanroom at Sensor Lab

Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) has set up a new Sensor Lab at Hong Kong Science Park. The new laboratory offers dedicated cleanroom facilities, equipment and tools that will assist partner companies in carrying out design and piloting production trials and testing for sensor prototypes.

Currently, there is a growth momentum in the use of small and sophisticated sensors into different technology areas such as AI, robotics and IoT, driving many emerging applications in various industries, from advanced manufacturing to healthcare.

In the development cycles of these sensors, the pilot run of design, prototyping and testing are critical, before moving on to the final production.

The use of small and sophisticated sensors into AI, robotics and IoT, is driving emerging applications in various industries, from advanced manufacturing to healthcare

To support the pilot run of the entire sensor development cycle, the Sensor Lab provides a shared ISO Class 2 and 3 cleanroom. The area is equipped with a range of hardware and software tools to allow basic processing steps in micro/ nano sensor development, such as deposition, lithography, etching, packaging and characterisation.

In addition, HKSTP is partnering with Meridian Innovation, Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute (ASTRI) and Genvida, to provide R&D technical support that will drive co-development of advanced sensor technologies.

Hi-tech in Hong Kong

Albert Wong, CEO of HKSTP, said: “Hong Kong is going through a new era of re-industrialisation, with a strong focus on advanced manufacturing. This, in turn, is fostering the rapid growth of the micro/nano sensor industry.”

This facility is capitalising on this growth. It is dedicated to accelerating the R&D and pilot production capabilities of start-ups and SMEs for new sensor products in Hong Kong.

The results of this are companies showing actual progress towards their goals. Meridian Innovation is a developer of advanced CMOS thermal imaging solutions. It became the first partner company of the Sensor Lab to gain success from their experiments for the next generation of their signature product, SenXor.

The Hong Kong-based start-up has set up an office in Science Park specifically for the availability of cleanroom facilities, as well as business advice from mentors and incubation funding support.

Hasan Gadjali, Co-founder of Meridian, said: “The well-equipped cleanroom in the Sensor Lab was a strong pulling factor driving us to set foot in Science Park, allowing us to focus our time and resources on our R&D.”

Gadjali continued: “So far, we have achieved many successful experiments in microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) and Wafer Level Vacuum Packaging processes. We are very lucky to be in the right place at the right time to meet the right people from HKSTP, especially the high calibre I&T talents who graduated from local universities here.”

At the Sensor Lab sharing session today, HKSTP also shared insights and latest industry trends from their technology review paper, “Micro/Nano Sensors for Healthcare and Smart City”, developed after the first International Symposium on Micro/Nano Sensors for Healthcare and Smart City held in December 2018.