Toshiba has produced a prototype of a compact, direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC). The company believes that this opens the way to the use of DMFC as an alternative power source to recharge batteries for personal devices.
The European IMEC research centre has installed a SUSS PAV150 at its Leuven (Belgium) facility to test micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) devices (in particular RF MEMS) in a high vacuum environment. The system enables reliability tests of MEMS under real-life conditions.
IBM claims to be the first to build SiGe bipolar devices using thin layer silion-on-insulator (SOI) wafers. The company believes that this paves the way to building SiGe bipolar and CMOS circuits on the same thin SOI wafer, maximising the performance of both the computing and communications functions.
STMicroelectronics released details of an advanced research programme that it hopes will substantially reduce the cost of generating electricity from solar power. The research team, based in Catania and Naples, Italy, is focusing on applying expertise in nanotechnology to the development of new solar cell technologies. It is hoped the final products will eventually be able to compete commercially with conventional electricity generation methods such as burning fossil fuels or nuclear reactors.
Applied Materials has obtained an exclusive patent licence from SCP Global Technologies to integrate single-wafer vapour drying technology on the Reflexion LK chemical mechanical planarisation (CMP) system.
eMagin’s organic light emitting diode (OLED) microdisplays are being used in the second generation of VRmagic’s EYESI virtual reality (VR) ophthalmic surgical training equipment. The system provides real-time simulation, biomechanical tissue simulation, tracking and stereo imaging.
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT) researchers have successfully prepared KTN crystals (KTa1-xNbxO3) with the highest electro-optic effect ever reported. In addition, NTT has developed film growth and lithographic techniques that can be used to fabricate optical waveguides with excellent performance.
Infineon Technologies has produced a new test chip designed to allow production processes of complex semiconductors to be tested and improved. The chip is based on a circuit developed at the Regensburg University of Applied Sciences in Germany.
Carl Zeiss Microelectronic Systems has delivered its first Aerial Image Measurement System (AIMS) for 157nm optical lithography to International SEMATECH (ISMT) in Austin, Texas. The tool is to be used to develop cutting-edge 157nm photomask technology.
The US National Electronics Manufacturing Initiative (NEMI) presented the recommendations of its Tin Whisker Accelerated Test Project. The project team has submitted a test method document to JEDEC that recommends two storage conditions and one temperature cycling condition to evaluate the propensity of tin-based plating finishes to grow whiskers.
European infrared image sensor developer XenICs has signed a sales and marketing agreement concerning its high-performance near-infrared InGaAs camera with US company Electrophysics. The camera has a spectral response in the range 0.9-1.7microns.
Electrophysics develops of near infrared, night vision and thermal imaging systems. It will add the XenICs InGaAs camera to its product line.
UK company Filtronic reports that it has been selected by a new OEM customer to supply initial quantities of an integrated radio frequency head unit to be installed in 3G wideband code division multiple access (WCDMA) base stations. Production quantities are not expected to commence until H2 2004.
Seiko Epson has developed a new material for use in non-volatile ferroelectric random-access memories (FeRAM). The company has named the material PZTN on a tentative basis. The new material adds niobium in place of some of the titanium in lead zirconate titanate (PZT). PZT has been extensively studied as a candidate for use in FeRAM.
Austriamicrosystems’ Full Service Foundry business has introduced a High Performance CMOS High Voltage process capable of operating at 50V. The initial device offering will have operation voltages of 20V and 50V, but the company believes that the process is capable of providing devices with operating voltages beyond 120V and breakdown voltages beyond 150V.
Bookham Technology has signed a definitive agreement to acquire New Focus, a provider of photonic and microwave solutions to non-telecom diversified markets, including the semiconductor, defence, research, industrial, biotech/medical and telecom test and measurement industries.
IBM plans to use chemical vapour deposition (CVD) low-k technology at the 90nm node. This is a blow to Dow Chemical, the producer of the spin-on SiLK dielectric. Dow and IBM have worked together for some time.
Light-emitting silicon technology has seen further significant advances, according to STMicroelectronics. An ST research team has not only increased the external quantum efficiency of its light-emitting devices by a factor 1.5 – a figure which already exceeds the quantum efficiency of traditional semiconductor materials - but it has also increased the maximum emitted power by a factor 50. As a result, ST is now able to produce more than 1mW of emitted light power for each square millimetre of silicon.
Semiconductor lithography experts have identified the top ten critical issues facing the industry with the use of extreme numerical apertures (hyper-NA), a critical factor for extending optical lithography, especially through immersion lithography. Hyper-NA refers to numerical apertures (NAs) greater than 0.90.