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Posted: February 16, 2009

Two chip consortia aim to accelerate green manufacturing progress for semiconductor industry

(Nanowerk News) 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.
Source: IMEC