Carl Zeiss Receives IARPA R+D Contract for Its Gas Field Ion Source (GFIS) Technology

(Nanowerk News) Carl Zeiss today announced that it has been awarded a $22.6 million contract to develop certain nano manufacturing and imaging applications based on its revolutionary ORION™ Gas Field Ion Source (GFIS) technology. The contract was awarded to US-based Carl Zeiss NTS, LLC by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) under the Circuit Analysis Tool (CAT) program.
The CAT program is geared towards addressing challenges in nano manufacturing and imaging pertaining to circuit analysis for which existing techniques have no clear evolutionary path to the 22nm node and beyond. The nano manufacturing thrust of the CAT program is focused on the modification of the electrical behavior of an integrated circuit through the use of precise deposition and removal techniques that can cut and/or create new connections.
"IARPA has clearly identified key challenges where the development of critical analytical instrumentation has not kept pace with the rapid progress in the design and processing of nanostructures," said Dan McGee, president of Carl Zeiss NTS LLC. "Carl Zeiss' position as a leader and innovator in charged particle beam technologies is affirmed by this contract award and we look forward to solving these challenges for IARPA and the global nano manufacturing industry at large."
The GFIS technology from Carl Zeiss offers significant benefits over the existing state-of-the-art in meeting advanced nano manufacturing requirements. A high brightness, sub-nm probe of inert ion species offers the ability to perform accurate, precise, and controlled edits on extremely small features (sub 10 nm) in high density components. A low lateral beam spread will result in tighter, better defined deposit geometries. In addition, Carl Zeiss' unique GFIS technology enables superior nano-patterning fidelity without residual metallic contamination relative to conventional Ga-FIB based technologies.
This contract is sponsored and managed by the Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright Patterson Air Force Base.
About GFIS technology
The Gas Field Ion Source (GFIS) technology uses a scanned beam of inert gas ions such as helium, rather than electrons typically used in scanning electron microscopes (SEM), to generate and pattern ultra-high resolution images and nanostructures. The beam is produced by an atomically sharp tip and results in a probe with incredibly high brightness (>5X109 A/cm2-sr at 30KeV) and extremely low energy spread (<1eV) which can be focused into an extraordinarily small spot (<0.35nm). The unique interaction dynamics of the helium ion beam with the sample enables applications in diverse fields of nanotechnology, materials and biological sciences, and nanofabrication. The Orion Helium Ion Microscope from Carl Zeiss was the first commercial product based on the GFIS technology and is being widely used by numerous research labs in industry and academia for a variety of applications.
Carl Zeiss
The Carl Zeiss Group is a leading group of companies operating worldwide in the optical and opto-electronic industries. Carl Zeiss offers innovative solutions for the future-oriented markets of Medical and Research Solutions, Industrial Solutions, Eye Care and Lifestyle Products. During fiscal year 2009/10 the group of companies generated revenues of around EUR 2.98 billion. From fiscal year 2010/11 onward, eyeglass lens manufacturer Carl Zeiss Vision will be integrated as an autonomous business group (revenues of EUR 880 million in fiscal year 2009/10). The Carl Zeiss Group now has approximately 24,000 employees, including more than 10,000 in Germany. The Carl Zeiss business groups hold leading positions in their markets. Carl Zeiss AG, Oberkochen, is fully owned by the Carl Zeiss Stiftung (Carl Zeiss Foundation).
Carl Zeiss NTS
Carl Zeiss NTS GmbH is the Nano Technology Systems Division of Carl Zeiss. As a pioneer in electron microscopy with more than 60 years of experience, Carl Zeiss NTS is one of the leading manufacturers of electron and ion-optical systems for the imaging, physical and chemical analysis and measurement of specimens with resolution in the picometer range. The company offers a broad spectrum of application and service solutions for the fields of nanotechnology, materials research and life sciences. Carl Zeiss NTS GmbH is headquartered in Oberkochen, Germany, and has subsidiaries in England, France, the USA and Singapore. The company has a global workforce of about 650 people.
Source: Carl Zeiss (press release)
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