Manufacturing Bits: Feb. 23

EUV resist venture; femtosecond microscopes; high-performance computing program.

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EUV resist venture
JSR and Imec have signed a deal to form a joint venture to develop resists for extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography.

The new company, dubbed EUV Resist Manufacturing & Qualification Center NV, is incorporated with a majority of the total shares held by JSR Micro NV.

As EUV technology advances, the IC industry is putting pressure on materials suppliers and other vendors to prepare the manufacturing infrastructure and quality control capabilities required for taking EUV into high volume manufacturing. “EUV lithography is critical to the advanced nodes of the future, and Imec is focused on supporting the entire supply chain to prepare an EUV infrastructure for high volume manufacturing,” said An Steegen, senior vice president at Imec, a Belgium-based R&D organization.

Separately, Imec and a digital research and incubation center, iMinds, announced that its respective board of directors have approved the intention to merge the research centers.

Using the Imec name, the combined entities will create a research center for the digital economy. The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of 2016. Based in Belgium, iMinds’ activities span research domains such as the IoT, digital privacy and security, and the conversion of raw data into knowledge.

Luc Van den hove, president and CEO of Imec, said: “IMinds is widely recognized for its business incubation programs and open access to SMEs, and, this merger provides us with a unique opportunity to jointly reach out to the Flemish industry and further elevate Smart Flanders on the global map.”

Femtosecond microscopes
The University of Colorado at Boulder has devised an ultrafast optical microscope. The system is fast enough to image the motions of electrons in real space and time.

The system enables femtosecond near-field imaging. It is 1,000 times more powerful than a conventional optical microscope. The image frame rate is 1 trillion times faster than the blink of an eye.

The microscope enables real-time, slow-motion movies of the images. To accomplish that feat, researchers devised a femtosecond near-field imaging technology, based on plasmonic nanofocused four-wave mixing. To demonstrate the technology, researchers focused short laser pulses into gold film matter. This was done using a tiny metal tip.

An ultrafast optical microscope shows clouds of electrons oscillating in gold material. (Source: University of Colorado Boulder)

An ultrafast optical microscope shows clouds of electrons oscillating in gold material. (Source: University of Colorado Boulder)

The technology is hailed as a breakthrough. “This is the first time anyone has been able to probe matter on its natural time and length scale,” said CU-Boulder physics Professor Markus Raschke, on the university’s Web site. “We imaged and measured the motions of electrons in real space and time, and we were able to make it into a movie to help us better understand the fundamental physical processes.”

High-performance computing effort
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and its partners announced 10 new industry projects.

The projects are part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) High Performance Computing for Manufacturing (HPC4Mfg) Program. LLNL leads the program and partners with Lawrence Berkeley and Oak Ridge National Laboratories.

In one of the projects, GlobalFoundries will collaborate with LBNL to optimize the design of transistors under a project entitled: “Computation Design and Optimization of Ultra-Low Power Device Architectures.”

Other projects include improved turbine blades for aircraft engines, waste reduction in paper manufacturing and improved fiberglass production. Each of the 10 Phase I projects will be funded at approximately $300,000 for a total of just under $3 million.

David Danielson, DOE’s assistant secretary for EERE, said: “The HPC4Mfg initiative pairs leading clean energy technology companies with the world-class computing tools and expertise at our national labs to drive down the cost of materials and streamline manufacturing processes. The ultimate goal of their collaboration is to increase our global competitiveness in the race to develop clean energy technology and jobs.”



  • kuwabara

    Femtosecond microscopes is very interesting.
    I think ultra fast observation is the next stage of metrology development.
    kuwabara