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Lithography show returns

The SPIE International Symposium on Microlithography returns to the San Jose McEnery Convention Center February 19–24, 2006. Featuring a full slate of short courses, six technical conference tracks, hundreds of poster papers, special panel sessions, and plenary presentations, the event also includes a two-day exhibit hall on Tuesday and Wednesday (February 21 and 22) with more than 130 suppliers to the litho segment.

This year’s plenary speakers are Yan Borodovsky, an Intel senior fellow and group director of the company’s advanced lithography unit, who will present “Marching to the Beat of Moore’s Law.” The second speaker is Eli Yablonovitch, a professor in UCLA’s electrical engineering department, whose talk is titled “Optics: There Are No Limits.” The final plenary speaker is Kurt Ronse, lithography department director of IMEC, who will discuss “Continued Scaling in Integrated Circuits—Trends in Lithography and Requirements from Device/Circuit Perspective.”

The conference tracks kick off Monday, February 20, and run through the week. The two poster sessions and receptions take place Monday and Thursday evenings (February 20 and 23), with the metrology, inspection, and process control for microlithography and advances in resist materials and processing technology tracks presented during the first session, and the emerging lithographic technologies, optical microlithography, data analysis and modeling for patterning control, and design and process integration for microelectronic manufacturing conference posters shown during the second session. Evening panel discussions include “193-nm Immersion Lithography—Will the Mask Makers Sink or Swim?” (Monday, February 20); “Lithography for 32-nm Technology” (Tuesday, February 21); and “The Future of CD-SEM and Scatterometry” (Wednesday, February 22). (For more info, check

Nano research centers funded

In an effort to accelerate nanotechnology research at U.S. universities, the Nanoelectronics Research Initiative (NRI) has awarded grants to help create two new university-based research centers and supplemental funds to support additional work at five NSF nanoscience centers and at a Texas-based group. The two new research centers are the Western Institute of Nanoelectronics (WIN), headquartered at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science in Los Angeles; and the Institute for Nanoelectronics Discovery and Exploration (Index), located at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering of the State University of New York at Albany.

Three University of California campuses—Los Angeles, Berkeley, and Santa Barbara—and Stanford will provide the participants for WIN, which will focus on novel spintronics and plasmonic devices. In addition to the SUNY-Albany participants, the Index group will include researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Purdue, Yale, and Rensselaer Polytechnic. This group will work on developing nanomaterials systems, atomic-scale fabrication technologies, realistic architectural integration schemes for new magnetic and molecular quantum devices, and other programs.

NRI says its goal is to help the semiconductor industry extend Moore’s Law well past 2020, by producing computing devices with critical dimensions of <10 nm and incorporating them in working ICs within 15 years.

AMAT launches VC unit

With a charter to make strategic seed and early-stage investments in promising privately held companies, Applied Materials has launched a wholly owned subsidiary, Applied Ventures LLC. The unit will focus its investments on technology innovations that could drive growth in existing, related, and new markets for the parent company. Its involvement could range from a leadership role (such as board seats and observer rights), access to technology and research capabilities including the Maydan Technology Center to enable innovation, or access to AMAT’s global business relationships.

“We are teaming with other investors….Our investments will typically range from $250,000 to $3 million early in the funding process,” says Applied senior vp and CTO, Mark Pinto. The company’s group vp of business development, George Davis, adds: “Managed and funded internally, the new venture capital initiative allows us to better align these investments with our overall growth strategy and business development activities.”

Details about AMAT’s new VC unit can be found at—and submissions of company proposals can be sent to— or Chris Moran at

Wallace now KLA-Tencor CEO

Veteran KLA-Tencor executive Rick Wallace has taken over as the company’s CEO following the retirement of Ken Schroeder. Wallace, who was previously president and COO, also assumes Schroeder’s seat on KLA-Tencor’s board, although the outgoing chief executive will stay on as a senior adviser to the company. John Kispert, KLA-Tencor’s CFO, replaces Wallace as president and COO and will continue to serve in the chief financial role until a replacement is found. Ken Levy remains as the company’s chairman. Wallace started with KLA in 1988 as an applications engineer and played increasingly responsible roles leading many of the company’s business units until joining the executive team. After holding several senior manager positions with IBM, Kispert moved to KLA-Tencor in 1995.

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