Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC), the world’s leading university-research consortium for semiconductors and related technologies, and IMEC, Europe’s leading independent nanoelectronics research center, intend to set up an international collaboration aimed at creation of novel processes and materials for advanced semiconductor manufacturing. The memorandum of understanding (MOU) calls for the consortia to apply their more than 50 years of combined expertise to finding more environmentally friendly ways to make chips for use by the worldwide electronics industry.
This unprecedented effort will bring together the SRC leadership in university research for sustainable high-performance materials and processes with IMEC’s expertise in advanced research of deep-submicron IC process technologies and devices. The research will be conducted among IMEC and the joint SRC/SEMATECH Center for Environmentally Benign Semiconductor Manufacturing (CEBSM), a well-established resource known for its expertise in addressing strategic ESH-related research challenges.
The cooperative work will aim at two objectives: creation of leading-edge technologies that protect the environment, as well as more effective processes for lowering the costs of chip manufacturing. The results should benefit both the global population and the driver of the new technologies, the semiconductor industry.
SRC, IMEC, and CEBSM intend to start the first phase of this joint initiative with an emphasis in two areas. The first area focuses on sustainable cleaning and surface preparation of new materials and nano-structures. This research includes timely integration of new channel and gate materials, such as Germanium (Ge) and III/V compounds, which are precursors for deposition, etch chemicals and cleaning agents in future device manufacturing. This research will establish options for minimizing emissions and decreasing the usage of chemicals, water and energy during processing. Additionally, this joint initiative will explore novel in-line and real-time approaches for monitoring the efficacy of nano-structure cleaning processes.
The second joint research project area aims to explore sustainable high-performance material planarization processes. This research will advance the design and feasibility of process options that eliminate the release and discharge of nanoparticles in the manufacturing waste streams.
“Semiconductors have made enormous progress in speed, performance, and miniaturization, which places greater demand on the environmental aspects required to create these ‘brains’ of the electronics world through ever-cleaner methods and materials,” said Larry Sumney, president and CEO of SRC. “Joining the considerable talents of SRC and IMEC with the CEBSM’s proven track record for high-impact ESH research demonstrates the commitment of the chip industry to stewardship of the global environment.”
“By joining forces with CEBSM’s experts, we will be able to complement our advanced semiconductor scaling research with ESH aspects already at a very early stage of researching new processes and materials for the next generation IC technologies;” said Gilbert Declerck, President and CEO of IMEC. “Such collaboration will offer our partners an added value towards future volume manufacturing.”
Further details of the R&D plans covered by the MOU will be presented at the annual meeting of the CEBSM, February 19-20, 2009 at the University of Arizona in Tucson.
Celebrating 27 years of collaborative research for the semiconductor industry, SRC defines industry needs, invests in and manages the research that gives its members a competitive advantage in the dynamic global marketplace. Awarded the National Medal of Technology, America’s highest recognition for contributions to technology, SRC expands the industry knowledge base and attracts premier students to help innovate and transfer semiconductor technology to the commercial industry.
IMEC is a world-leading independent research center in nanoelectronics and nanotechnology. IMEC vzw is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, has a sister company in the Netherlands, IMEC-NL, offices in the US, China and Taiwan, and representatives in Japan. Its staff of more than 1750 people includes about 600 industrial residents and guest researchers. In 2008, its revenue (P&L) was estimated to EUR 264 million. IMEC’s More Moore research aims at semiconductor scaling towards sub-32nm nodes. With its More than Moore research, IMEC looks into technologies for nomadic embedded systems, wireless autonomous transducer solutions, biomedical electronics, photovoltaics, organic electronics and GaN power electronics. IMEC’s research bridges the gap between fundamental research at universities and technology development in industry. Its unique balance of processing and system know-how, intellectual property portfolio, state-of-the-art infrastructure and its strong network worldwide position IMEC as a key partner for shaping technologies for future systems.
The Center for Environmentally Benign Semiconductor Manufacturing (CEBSM) was established in 1996 by SRC and the US National Science Foundation as a unique university/industry consortium and the first center focused on the development of green and sustainable technologies for semiconductor manufacturing. It is one of the largest university consortia and a pioneer in the field of sustainability. CEBSM program is managed by SRC and is co-sponsored by SRC, Sematech/ISMI, over 35 industrial members, and currently 12 member universities. Examples of past technologies developed at CEBSM and transferred to industry are processes and materials for reducing the usage of PFCs, award-winning low-energy and low-water surface preparation processes, low-energy deposition processes, novel chemistries for patterning and etching, ESH issues of high-volume nano-manufacturing, and ESH aspect of nano-material.