SRC, IMEC pair for “green” chipmaking

Feb. 17. 2009 – University research consortium Semiconductor Research Corp. has brought onboard European nanoelectronics R&D consortium IMEC to join work in creating “environmentally friendly” processes and materials for advanced semiconductor manufacturing.

The memorandum of understanding (MOU), combining the materials and process strengths of SRC’s university reach with IMEC’s deep submicron IC process technology/devices, will target two objectives: creation of leading-edge technologies that protect the environment, and more effective processes for lowering the costs of chip manufacturing. Work will be conducted between IMEC and the joint SRC/SEMATECH Center for Environmentally Benign Semiconductor Manufacturing (CEBSM), a group started up in 1996 by the U. of Arizona (lead institution), MIT, Stanford, and UC-Berkeley (and now also including Cornell, Arizona State, MIT’s Lincoln Labs, and Maryland).

The proposed first phase of the project will focus on sustainable cleaning and surface preparation of new materials and nanostructures, including integration of new channel and gate materials (e.g., Ge and III/V precursors), and establishing options for minimizing emissions and decreasing usage of chemicals, water, and energy. Also addressed will be in-line and real-time approaches for monitoring efficacy of nanostructure cleaning processes.

A second phase will explore sustainable high-performance material planarization processes, aiming to advance design and feasibilty of process options that eliminate release and discharge of nanoparticles in manufacturing waste streams.

Gains made in advancing semiconductor technology (speed, performance, scaling) have also placed greater demand on maintaining environmental aspects in the form of ever-cleaner methods and materials, noted Larry Sumney, president and CEO of SRC, in a statement. “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,” added IMEC president/CEO Gilbert Declerck.


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