Lab-Industry chip collaboration continues to gather momentum
One of DOE's most ambitious multi-lab/industry partnerships, created in 1997 to develop the technology that will enable the next generation of computer chips, continues to win national and international applause as its products move toward the marketplace.
The latest recognition of the value of multi-laboratory collaboration came this past October, when representatives of DOE's “Virtual National Laboratory” (VNL) and their industry partners were honored not once, but twice by R&D Magazine for their Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography (EUVL) Full-Field Step-Scan System.
The researchers from Lawrence Livermore, Sandia, and Lawrence Berkeley national labs received one of three R&D 100 “Editor's Choice” awards for most outstanding achievement among the 2003 award winners. The EUVL team, which included Northrop Grumman Space Technology/Cutting Edge Optronics, was recognized for making the “greatest improvement upon an existing technology.”
The Editor's Choice award actually marked at least the seventh time EUVL-related technology has been recognized by R&D Magazine . A process developed at Lawrence Livermore that creates nearly defect-free surfaces for use in the EUVL system, the Ion Beam Thin Film Planarization process, also received an R&D 100 award last year. Related technology developed by Lawrence Livermore and Veeco Instruments Inc. was honored in 1997, 1999 and 2002. And a Livermore-developed tool for accurately measuring the EUVL's precise optics, the phase-shifting diffraction interferometer, was also recognized in 1997.
Because of the successful demonstration of the EUVL step-scan system and other advances, EUVL has been selected by international semiconductor organizations as the best candidate technology for producing the next generation of computer chips. EUVL, which prints 50-nanometer (billionths of a meter) features over the full field size of computer chips, can pack nearly twice as many circuits on a chip as current photolithography techniques. This will allow the production of microprocessors 100 times more powerful and memory chips that can store a thousand times more information than those in use today.
An industry consortium led by Intel Corp. is working with the VNL in a six-year, $250-million Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) – DOE's largest CRADA to date – to develop the technology.
DOE's lithography VNL was established to take advantage of the three member labs' experience in organizing multi-disciplinary teams to tackle large, complex problems under tight deadlines.
Lawrence Livermore supplies its expertise in optics, precision engineering, and multilayer coatings. Sandia provides systems engineering, the photoactive polymer thin film exposed by the light, and the light source. Lawrence Berkeley contributes the ability of its Advanced Light Source synchrotron to generate EUV light to measure the performance of components used in the tools.
Submitted by DOE's
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