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A U.S. Department of Energy–funded nanotechnology research program focused on the subangstrom world has selected FEI to be its R&D partner. The project, known as TEAM (for Transmission Electron Aberration-corrected Microscope), will build the highest-resolution scanning/transmission electron instrument in the world. Participants say the proposed 300-kV tool will be capable of direct observation and analysis of individual nanostructures at an atomic-level resolution of 0.5 Å.

The five major research labs involved in TEAM—Argonne, Brookhaven, Lawrence Berkeley, Oak Ridge, and Frederick Sietz—chose FEI largely because of the advanced corrector technology for electron microscopy that the company has developed in cooperation with its German partner, CEOS. "FEI's new dedicated corrector platform is the most viable starting point for the TEAM microscope because it is compatible with the extraordinary stability needed in aberration-corrected instruments," says Uli Dahmen, TEAM's scientific director and head of the National Center for Electron Microscopy (NCEM) in Berkeley, CA, where the first TEAM microscope will be assembled.

"One of the greatest benefits to researchers and industrial users is that the new [dedicated corrector] platform will provide important flexibility for future development of component upgrades," adds George Scholes, FEI's vice president for its scanning/transmission microscope product line.

SEMI seeks innovators

Attention entrepreneurs, inventors, and companies with fresh ideas in the semiconductor and related manufacturing spaces: SEMI seeks your presence at the third annual Technology Innovation Showcase (TIS), to be held at Semicon West 2005. The trade association is looking for innovative software, equipment, processes, materials, and services that meet the following criteria: must be a new or original invention, provide practical solutions to real problems in the chipmaking or related industries, have data validating the invention, and should not be a fully released product within the semiconductor industry.

Interested innovators need to complete an application, which includes a 250-word description of the innovation and brief speaker biography, by February 6. A panel of business professionals and industry technologists will review the proposals and select innovations based on technical merit, significance, solutions/results, and industry contributions. The selection committee will notify all applicants of their decision by March 12. Selected companies will get a booth in the special TIS pavilion for all three days of the July show, an opportunity to make a presentation at the adjacent theater, and admission to the SEMI President's Reception. For TIS applications, a list of rules and requirements, and general information, go to

Silicon Border gets grant

The Mexican federal and Baja California state governments have finalized agreements with the Silicon Border Development group for a grant and expanded exclusivity deal for a semiconductor-focused science park along the U.S.-Mexico border. The amount of the grant, some of which comes from Mexico's Prosoft program, was not disclosed. The exclusivity agreement has been lengthened to 24 months by the state, allowing planners to develop commercial land use and utilities considerations for the 10,000-acre technology zone in Mexicali.

"The traditional thought process has been immediately to outsource to Asia because the costs and efficiency models couldn't be beat," notes Len Jelinek, principal analyst for iSuppli. "However, Silicon Border, with the full support of the Mexican government, has devised a win-win model that offers an interesting economic alternative and absolutely suggests the possibility of bringing some cost-effective manufacturing back to North America."

Mattson ships tool to ATDF

The first flash-assisted rapid thermal processing system targeted for ultrashallow junction (USJ) applications at 45 nm and below has been delivered by Mattson Technology to ATDF. The Austin, TX–based R&D and custom manufacturing center (the former Advanced Technology Development Facility, spun off from Sematech) will act as beta-site partner for the equipment company, integrating the new millisecond flash annealing technology into its processes. The first phase of the program will be proprietary to Mattson's field of use, while the second phase will allow customers and ATDF to beta test the tool and technology.

"This integrated beta-site testing will save Mattson significant R&D investment and enable the company to fully use our 300-mm capability," explained Juergen Woehl, the center's general manager. "ATDF's superior cycle time will enable Mattson to learn the integration of its proprietary technology in record times. This collaboration will facilitate ATDF's transition to full 300-mm processing capabilities and will create opportunities for external researchers to work with our supplier partner."

Bede hires McIntosh

X-ray metrology equipment supplier Bede has appointed one of the industry's leading executives as nonexecutive chairman of the board. Stuart McIntosh, executive vp of operations and president of lithography at ASML and former COO of Philips Semiconductor, joins the UK-based company. Former chairman Norman Price will stay on as a nonexecutive director.

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