Fraunhofer Institute celebrates opening of the Center Nanoelectronic Technology CNT
"The Fraunhofer Center Nanoelectronic Technology CNT is exemplary for a new way of interlocking science and production," Dr. Alfred Gossner, Member of the Frauhofer-Gesellschaft's Executive Board, highlights at the opening of the CNT. "It is only possible with the mutual efforts of science and industry that we have a chance here in Germany to be actively involved in the development of such huge technological challenges like the transition to nanoelectroinics." The CNT expands the Fraunhofer alliance microelectronic's competences in cooperation with leading semiconductor manufacturers in the field of technology development. As such the CNT is part of the European initiative ENIAC (European Nanoelectronic Initiative Advisory Council) which is in place to strengthen the field of nanoelectronics. "Rather like IMEC in Belgium and LETI in France the CNT will directly collaborate with the industry", Dr. Gossner describes the European answer to initiatives like Sematech in the US and Selete in Japan. "The CNT makes Dresden an important location for advanced research in nanoelectronics in Europe."
In August last year the partners Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Infineon Technologies AG and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. AMD and the Federal Government and the Free State of Saxony signed a memorandum of understanding for the establishment of the CNT. Only nine months later the ceremonial opening of the Fraunhofer CNT is now taking place. "For the CNT there are clean-room facilities available with a surface area of 800 m² as well as an infrastructure that complies with industry standards," says Dr. Peter Kücher, the CNT's director, highlighting the construction that went according to plan.
The CNT's goal is to make maximum usage of the synergies between science, development and the manufacturing of process technologies for nanoelectronics at the facility in Dresden. "This research platform gives us the opportunity to develop innovative process solutions fast and efficiently and to transfer them directly into the manufacturing environment," says Dr. Andreas von Zitzewitz, Board Member of Infineon, describing the benefits for the industry. "Given the short life cycles of products and technology within a cyclical semiconductor industry and taking the rapidly augmenting development costs into consideration this is one of the most critical tasks, which can be solved preferably through close cooperation in research and development."
At present semiconductor vendors are facing the challenge to further shrink silicon geometries below 50 nanometers and quickly implement innovations like these into manufacturing lines. Semiconductor technology plays a role as an important foundation for developments in many other industries opening up new products and markets. As such nanoelectronic technologies are becoming a comprehensive basis technology.
With Infineon's 300-mm DRAM production already under way and AMD's two microprocessor facilities Dresden offers excellent local conditions for a cooperative research platform for nanoelectronics. "The CNT will push the efficient development of new technology generations, always with the perspectives of the end customer in mind,", says AMD's Dr. William Siegle. "Customer orientation is the core of AMD's strategy. And it's customer orientation that the CNT's projects are tailored to. They allow us to conduct technology research tied to production, which supports us in producing innovative and applications oriented microprocessors." In the CNT's clean-room facilities industry partners Infineon and AMD, in cooperation with Fraunhofer researchers, the technical university of Dresden and other institutes will be able to develop process technologies for the manufacturing of nanoelectronics. The CNT is open to cooperation with materials and equipment manufacturers.
Industry partners and government will again invest a total of 700 million Euro in the expansion of the nanoelectronics location Germany. One third of these funds will be provided by the German confederation, the Free State of Saxony and the EU. Besides building expenses the BMBF and the Free State of Saxony are supporting the new Fraunhofer facility with institutional funds totaling 80 million Euro to be paid over the next five years, intended for the purchase of basic equipment. In this period the industry partners are planning to invest 170 million Euro in research projects. These will be funded with 85 million Euro by the BMBF, the Free State of Saxony and the EU commission. Federal minister for research Edelgard Bulmahn: "The CNT is an investment into the future beeing supported by the government and the industry benefitting people in Dresden and all over Germany. The CNT will not only pursue cutting-edge research with the BMBF's support but convert it directly into innovations and hence into employment." Georg Milbradt, Chief Minister of Saxony, pointed out: "The Free State of Saxony is comprehensively committed in the CNT's advancement. As an institution of companies and science it is an important component for the future of Dresden as a semiconductor location. Today we talk about microelectronics and tomorrow nanoelectronics will take it's place. Because of the breathtaking speed of developments it is so important that research, education and manufacturing will be linked together as close as possible. I will continue to fully support the expansion of the high-tech location Saxony." The contract agreement for the CNT is valid for five years initially. At the end of this time period a mutual evaluation will take place. The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and the industry partners are aiming at operating a permanently working research platform. Pivotal for continuing the platform will be success and the development of the markets on one hand and the development of supporting R&D measures on the other hand.
Topics are the processing of selected process steps for the manufacturing of high-density memory components as well as high-performance transistors. The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft will particularly bring in the competences of it's institutes in the fields of material- and deposition systems, basic processes, assembly and packaging, design technologies and lithography. In the CNT almost 100 engineers from the industry partners specialized in development and manufacturing as well as scientific staff members of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft will develop innovative solutions for nanoelectronics.
CNT Director Dr. Peter Kücher knows the chip industry's requirements from his previous activities for Infineon. As such he has developed the first 265-Mbit chip in 0.25 µm technology in cooperation with IBM and Toshiba in East Fishkill, New York, and managed the world's first 300 mm wafer production line in Dresden. Previously he was the Managing Director for Infineon Technologies Flash GmbH. In this position he was responsible for the development of this line of business. Dr. Kücher still sees huge potential in the field of semiconductor technology. New insights in the field of lithography again and again are allowing to overcome significant obstacles on the way to further shrinks.
"Latest hopes are pinned on the immersion lithography which was previously used in microscopy and was now discovered for the mass production of chips", Dr. Kücher explains. "With state of the art light sources producing wave lengths of 193 nanometers it allows to produce silicon geometries of 90 nanometers and below". Because of the high costs, decisions to continue or stop a development need to be made as early as possible. "At the same time we must not concentrate on the assumed logical and sequencial developments. Instead we need to develop alternatives", says Dr. Kücher. Because of all technically feasible developments only those will establish themselves who can be realised in the most economic way. The CNT in Dresden in cooperation with Infineon and AMD will do everything in order to make innovative semiconductor technologies carry the "Made in Germany" award more often in the future.
Phone: 0 18 88/ 57-50 51 oder 0 30 / 2 85 40-50 51
Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung
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Dr. Peter Kücher
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Fraunhofer-Center Nanoelektronische Technologien
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