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Posted: April 28, 2009
New Agreement Underscores Sigma-Aldrich's Commitment to Japan's Chip Market
(Nanowerk News) SAFC Hitech®, a business segment within SAFC®, a member of the Sigma-Aldrich® Group, today underlined its commitment to Japan's microelectronics industry by announcing it has extended its collaborative partnership with leading industrial and medical gas producer, Air Water Inc., (AWI). Under the terms of the agreement, the two companies expect to continue to offer the Japan chip industry high quality collaborative research and development services in local state-of-the-art facilities.
The extended agreement builds upon the companies' foundations of providing performance chemicals to both the silicon and compound semiconductor markets in Japan, and offers Integrated Device Manufacturers (IDMs) and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) direct access to local, high-quality research and development facilities that can be used to develop highly advanced integrated circuits and the tools to build them.
Customer research programs will be supported at AWI's Matsumoto campus in the Nagano region of Japan. This site houses state-of-the-art laboratories and Class 1,000 clean rooms where a wide range of high purity gas and chemical related research is currently performed by AWI and SAFC Hitech. A highly collaborative approach is employed by the companies and enables research groups in Japan, the U.S.A. and the UK to discuss and comment upon newly developed data, which can be made available to customers on a confidential basis.
"The innovative, highly competitive nature of Japan's semiconductor market has proven to be a significant driver in pushing the microelectronics industry forward," commented Dr. Peter Heys, Research and Development Director at SAFC Hitech. "Extending our excellent working relationship with AWI provides valuable development resources to this key strategic market, one that we believe will continue to lead advancement of chip technology. The highly skilled scientific teams of SAFC Hitech and AWI and the world class facilities in which they work have attracted a number of Japanese multinational IDMs and OEMs. We currently have numerous programs where a customer's research engineers work closely alongside SAFC and AWI researchers to collaborate on projects."
Development work conducted at the Matsumoto facility continues the drive to support Moore's Law of developing advanced semiconductors that integrate a greater concentration of transistors per unit area to offer increased functionality while consuming less power. Such advances are expected to be achieved at the molecular level by investigating and altering the chemistry and physics of the contents of key components in the device architecture to allow electrons to maximize their required functions.
AWI's research facility employs three Atomic Layer Deposition Reactors that can deposit single, atom-thin layers of film in a controlled sequence cycle using specially designed and 'fit for purpose' chemical precursors. The facility hosts a Rapid Thermal Annealer to stabilize the crystal structure of the thin film formed and has advanced microscopy and ellipsometry equipment to examine surface topography and measure film thicknesses. An X-ray Diffractometer is available to measure the chemical composition and crystallographic structure of a film and an Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometer is in place to measure the qualitative and quantitative components of the material composition of newly deposited film. Advanced electrical measurement equipment allows the researcher to establish I-V and C-V plots and thus establish the flow (or non-flow) of current through the surface of the films and their substrates.