Researchers at the University of Erlangen in Germany hope to open “a broad vista of possible semiconductor applications for diamond” using a new doping method (Nature, July 22, 2004). Rather than introduce chemical impurities, the scientists evaporate C60 molecules (“Bucky balls”) onto a hydrogen-terminated diamond surface, inducing a subsurface hole accumulation and a significant rise in two-dimensional conductivity.
Tegal has been granted two US patents for nano layer deposition (NLD) of conformal thin films for barrier, copper seed and high-k dielectric applications (Nos. 6,689,220 and 6,756,318). Applications are seen in advanced microprocessor and memory device production.
UK IC producer Zetex Semiconductors has bought Escend Technologies' design-win management enterprise software for semiconductor and electronic component manufacturers. Zetex supplies analogue semiconductors for signal processing and power management. The software is designed to help achieve growing revenues, improved global tracking of business opportunities and customer support during the design-in cycle.
UK etch tool company Surface Technology Systems (STS) has received an order to supply TSMC with a cassette to cassette high-rate ASEHRM plasma etch system. The system will be installed into an existing 150mm line at TSMC Fab 2 in Hsinchu, Taiwan. STS sees the sale as being an early indication that TSMC is looking to micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) production as a likely future market sector.
Under the heading "Response from IBM", Science magazine (July 16, 2004) has published a letter criticising an earlier article on the company's fab cancer litigation ("Beset by lawsuits, IBM blocks a study that used its data", May 14, 2004). The letter comes from Scott R Brooks of IBM's Systems and Technology group.
Atmel has extended its Dresden design centre in Germany by adding 32 new highly skilled engineers to the 12 designers who have been part of the Atmel team for the last three years. Atmel has also increased the size of its location and is building up a new laboratory.
Dainippon Screen's semiconductor equipment operation has received a license for patent rights from Philips Electronics concerning Marangoni wafer drying technology. The technique is to be used in the drying units to be installed on DNS batch cleaning systems.