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INDUSTRY NEWS

Sandia database offers IP

A new database highlights opportunities to license Sandia National Laboratories intellectual property. Intellectual Property Available for Licensing (iPAL) is designed to show technologies from the lab that may not be fully utilized in the commercial realm and to help companies move promising technologies toward commercialization. The Web-based system allows customers to search through Sandia IP that is available for licensing and get in touch with the right people at the lab to negotiate a license. Sandia then works with an interested company to come up with a mutually beneficial commercial licensing agreement.

"We would expect corporate technology officers at private firms and technology transfer agents at universities and other organizations to look at some of the technologies we are offering and decide if they want to license this IP from us," says Sandia's licensing and IP manager, Kevin McMahon. The iPAL database offers a mechanism to determine if anyone is interested in a specific technology, and if Sandia does not get any interest after a period of time, a decision could be made to drop a technology from the lab's portfolio. For more information about the database, log onto http://ipal.sandia.gov.

SIA, SEMI plan nano study

Two of the semiconductor manufacturing community's leading associations will conduct a comprehensive research report on nanotechnology applications in the global electronics industry. SIA and SEMI say the goal of the joint study, Global Nanoelectronics Markets and Opportunities, is to define emerging markets and offer a worldwide perspective of requirements and prospects for companies in the industry. The report—based on interviews with executives in China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Europe, the United States, and elsewhere—is scheduled for release in 3Q 2005.

The report will contain a market forecast for nanotech equipment and materials, divided by business segment. Market-size forecasts for 5, 10, and 15 years will be based on expected scenarios of new technology penetration. The study will identify the current and planned nanotech activities of semiconductor, display, data storage, optoelectronics, MEMS, and sensor companies, with definitions and examinations of various tool and materials process technologies, requirements, and opportunities.

In related news, SEMI named Lubab Sheet as its senior director of nanotechnology. She will coordinate the association's global services in the nanotech area, including standards development efforts and the NanoForum conference. Sheet was SEMI's research development director before assuming her new position.

Actinix gets NSF grant

The National Science Foundation has awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II grant of $500,000 to Actinix for the design and construction of an ultra-high-resolution, high-precision phase-shift metrology system for advanced photomasks. The NSF Award Abstract states that "the goal of this Phase II program is to integrate the actinic high-repetition-rate laser built in Phase I into an interferometric laser microscope involving the design, construction, and integration of a stable phase-shifting interferometer and laser microscope." The abstract also calls for "the incorporation and optimization of phase-shifting interferometry signal processing algorithms.... The Phase II high-precision metrology system will enable manufacturers to characterize, predict, and control mask-loading effects and other repair and process control issues essential to the reliable fabrication of phase-shifting masks." The Soquel, CA–based company says the new integrated optical system will be composed of an Actinix 5-kHz, solid-state 193-nm laser, phase-shifting interferometer, and high-resolution laser microscope, incorporating the requirements detailed in the NSF abstract.

IMT scores VC monies

Independent MEMS foundry Innovative Micro Technology plans to expand its facilities and equipment suite with $17 million in institutional venture capital that it raised recently. The 5-year-old company, which is ramping production on several customer programs in its 0.35-µm-capable, 6-in. wafer fab in Santa Barbara, CA, also will use the funds to expand its sales and marketing efforts, especially in the area of new technology partnerships with industry leaders. The funding round was led by Investor Growth Capital (IGC), with BA Venture Partners and Miramar Venture Partners also participating. In conjunction with the financing, IGC's Jose Suarez and BA's Eric Sigler will join IMT's board, along with former Chartered Semiconductor president and CEO Barry Waite, who is a senior adviser to IGC.

SCP revives symposium

SCP Global will hold its annual international wafer-cleaning symposium for the first time since 2001. The company has scheduled the revived conference, themed "Surface Preparation to the Forefront: Advanced Materials and Technologies for 65 nm and Below," for June 7–9 at the Boise (ID) Center on the Grove convention facility. The event will consist of some 20 technical presentations, panel and roundtable discussions, a poster session, keynote dinner, the annual Werner Kern Award, and recreational activities. The official call for papers and registration information is available at www.scpglobal.com.


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