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NanoKTN Helps Steer UK’s Commercial Exploitation of European Silicon Wafer Damage Research

The Nanotechnology Knowledge Transfer Network (NanoKTN), one of the UK’s primary knowledge-based networks for Micro and Nanotechnologies, is pleased to announce that it has helped steer the UK commercial exploitation of European silicon wafer damage research.

The research has been used by Jordan Valley Semiconductors, a leading supplier of X-ray based in-line metrology and defect detection systems for advanced semiconductor manufacturing lines, to deliver new metrology solutions to new International companies.

The SIDAM (Silicon Wafer Damage) European Commission project gathered partners from different European countries: Jordan Valley Semiconductors Ltd as the industrial partner from the UK, and the Universities of Durham, Dublin City, Freiburg (Germany), CEIT San Sebastian (Spain), and the ANKA synchrotron, Karlsruhe (Germany).

The aim of the project was to discover how to derive quantitative, predictive information from X-ray Diffraction Imaging (XRDI), enabling a breakthrough metrology of wafer inspection. The outcome of this research was offered as a competitive advantage to those members of the European Semiconductor Industry who agreed to join the Industrial Advisory Board. The NanoKTN sat on the Industrial Advisory Board to assist with the future commercial exploitation for UK companies.

Dr Paul Ryan, Jordan Valley UK Subsidiary Manager comments, “Many semiconductor manufacturing companies have problems with wafer handling, as it introduces micro cracks at the wafer edge. During rapid thermal processing these can grow into cracks, shattering the wafer and disrupting manufacture. With the help of the SIDAM project, we were able to devise techniques to reveal the nature of the defects in the wafers and their relevance to semiconductor device fabrication. Working with the NanoKTN, we used the research to further develop our JVSensus™ system, a non-destructive, in-line tool for detection of non visual, crystalline defects (NVD) on patterned or blanket wafers.”

The company has since used NanoKTN and JEMI events to showcase its new system, and last month shipped its JVSensus™ system to a leading Asian semiconductor foundry manufacturer, who has implemented the tool as part of its process.

Dr Paul Ryan continues, “JVSensus is evidence that our strategy of turning X-Ray imaging into production worthy defect detection tool, successfully delivers the right product for the benefit of our customers. This could provide Europe with a competitive advantage in the development of both 450mm and thin silicon wafers. The knowledge and tools developed will contribute to maintaining Europe’s leading position in semiconductor x-ray metrology.”

Dr Alec Reader, Director at the NanoKTN explains, “Jordan Valley Semiconductors is a great example of a UK company using research and development funding to further develop its technological breakthroughs into viable products with real commercial potential. We would urge all UK SMEs to get involved in European funding opportunities to help their businesses grow.”

For further information about the NanoKTN, please visit www.nanoktn.com or email [email protected].

Established by the Technology Strategy Board, the NanoKTN is managed by Centre for Process Innovation Ltd, a leading technology development and consulting company.

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