rolls toward flexibility
An R&D contract from the U.S. Display
Consortium and an equipment and materials order from a major Japanese
company have boosted Vitex Systems' efforts to commercialize its proprietary
transparent barrier coating and flexible-glass substrate technologies.
These deals add to the company's existing contracts with USDC and the
U.S. Army Research Labs to develop flexible, active-matrix organic light-emitting
diode (OLED) displays, as well as development work and evaluations with
several companies on a variety of OLED-bearing substrates.
The company, which spun out of Battelle Memorial Institute
in 1999, will share with USDC the nearly $2 million cost of a multiphase
project to scale up high-volume, roll-to-roll (R2R) manufacturing capability
for the production of flexible OLEDs. The flagship order includes one
of Vitex's Guardian deposition tools, its Barix thin-film encapsulation-resin
system, relevant process technology, and a license to use the patented
Vitex solutions. Scheduled for shipment in September, the product suite
will be used by the Japanese firm for R&D on next-generation OLED
displays and materials.
COO Jim Marshall told MICRO at the company's
San Jose headquarters that Vitex's focus is on process development, technology
transfer, and integration issues. The supplier's strategic partners include
Tokki, which does the outsourced manufacturing of the Guardian platform
in Japan, and Techni-Met, which has a jointly developed prototype vacuum
roll coater at its Connecticut site. Challenges in the barrier substrate
area that must be solved before sampling include particle and other defect
reduction and deposition uniformity, explained Marshall. Achieving film-surface
smoothness and identifying the root causes of permeation are key focuses
in the early stages of the R2R efforts, he added.
The first R&D system was installed in August 2004,
and he expects four more to be shipped this year. The company's goal is
to have orders booked at display makers in the first half of 2005, as
well as at large R&D organizations, according to Marshall. He believes
the design of the mass-production manufacturing equipment will be available
by the end of 2005 or beginning of 2006, adding that Vitex is actively
seeking customer feedback on process integration issues on the tool design.
tips fit SPM needs
In one of the first commercial applications
of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) for semiconductor production use, single CNT
tips have been grown to customer specifications directly on silicon scanning
probe microscope (SPM) cantilevers. In efforts funded by the Advanced
Materials Research Corp., Xidex produced the tips in collaboration with
the department of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Texas
at Austin and tested them at Sematech's facilities.
Xidex says that, compared with conventional silicon tips,
nanotubes can be made with much smaller end radii (down to 1 nm) and very
high aspect ratios. This allows them to slip into the increasingly hard-to-access
spaces between nanoscale features. The new tips are also more wear resistant
than their silicon counterparts, extending their useful life and enabling
A comprehensive research report on the state of advanced
global chipmaking has been published. Frost & Sullivan's World
Front-end Semiconductor Manufacturing Technologies, compiled by lead
analyst Sivakumar Muthuramalingam, examines trends and developments in
next-generation IC production practices. Areas of interest include novel
wafer-cleaning approaches such as supercritical carbon dioxide, atomic
layer and other ultra-thin-layer deposition techniques, silicon-on-insulator
materials, and advanced ion implantation processes. The report offers
assessments of technology transfer opportunities, as well as adoption
factor analyses of the various product and process groups. There is also
a database of key industry participants and patents and a set of reference
tables. The report costs $4550; for more info, go to www.frost.com.
symposia call for papers
Two symposia dealing with critical challenges facing
the semiconductor industry are looking for presentations. The second International
Symposium on Immersion Lithography, organized by Sematech and IMEC in
cooperation with Selete, will take place September 12–15 in Bruges,
Belgium. The organizers need abstracts of at least 193 words submitted
by May 15 on such topics as photoresists, masks, tools, hyper-NA effects,
metrology, defectivity, optical materials, and modeling. The papers will
be selected and presenters notified by June 17. Interested parties should
ISMI is also organizing its second annual symposium,
slated for October 24–26 in Austin, TX. The goal of the event is
to share information and methodologies for reducing manufacturing expenses
in existing and next-generation fabs through advances in equipment, processes,
resource conservation, fab design, and manufacturing methods. Topics include
tool and process productivity improvements, yield modeling, integrated
metrology, factory optimization, design for EHS, and facility systems
reliability. Abstracts of no more than 500 words are due by June 15, with
acceptances confirmed by August 1. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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