Healthier chips

Green manufacturing processes are set to receive a boost after two major research centres signed an agreement to promote environmentally-friendly technologies in the electronics industry.

IMEC, an independent nanoelectronics research centre, and the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) have signed the memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will see them share knowledge on greener ways to produce chips and reduce costs in the advanced semiconductor manufacturing industry. The agreement will bring together the SRC’s university research in high-performance materials with IMEC’s experience in deep-submicron IC process technologies and devices.

The joint initiative will be undertaken in two phases: the first will focus on surface preparation and sustainable cleaning of new materials and nanostructures, while the second will explore high-performance material planarisation processes to prevent the discharge of nanoparticles in the manufacturing waste streams.

Larry Sumney, chief executive of SRC, said: ‘Semiconductors have made enormous progress in speed, performance and miniaturisation, which places greater demand on the environmental aspects required to create these “brains” of the electronics world through ever-cleaner methods and materials. Joining the 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.’

Gilbert Declerck, chief executive of IMEC, said: ‘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. Such collaboration will offer our partners an added value towards future volume manufacturing.’

Research will take place at the joint SRC/SEMATECH Center for Environmentally Benign Semiconductor Manufacturing (CEBSM).