El-Mul Technologies will participate in a project valued at over $1.3 million to continue development of new electron beam sources based on its proprietary carbon nanotube device.
The project also marks the success of a R&D partnership between El-Mul and a leading European manufacturer of SEM and TEM systems. The two firms are jointly developing El-Mul’s patented device for next generation microscopes, to be used primarily in the analytical instruments and semiconductor tools industries.
The two firms will split project R&D costs, with a significant portion of El-Mul’s costs to be paid directly by the Office of the Chief Scientist in Israel’s Ministry of Industry and Trade.
The 2006 funding round represents continued backing for the innovative carbon nanotube (CNT) electron beam device by the Israeli Chief Scientist. It supplements nearly $1 million in funding awarded in 2003 from the Chief Scientist and other sources.
“Our partnership with this multinational nanotechnology instrumentation company is a very clear indicator of the commercial potential for our CNT E-beam device,” Dr. Armin Schon, CEO of El-Mul Technologies, said upon announcement of project funding.
“Both El-Mul and our R&D partner recognize that this device can become the flagship product for a new generation of sub-45 nm E-beam tools.” Schon added: “We are especially pleased to be working together with a company of such strength and significance to the electron microscopy field.”
The new cold field emission electron source device is targeted primarily for next generation scanning electron microscope (SEM) and transmission electron microscope (TEM) systems. Manufacturers and analysts agree that there is need to dramatically improve the performance and throughput of these systems in order for them to keep pace with the rapidly escalating demands of science and industry.
The CNT-based device being developed under the partnership can result in 30 percent higher resolution, a four-fold increase in scanning speeds, as well as a significant cost reduction in both manufacturing and maintenance of SEM and TEM systems.
El-Mul’s patented approach – embedding a single multi-walled CNT inside a cathode well – creates a MEMS-based electron source that results in superior beam brightness, narrower energy spread and smaller source size than conventional electron emitter devices. To manufacture the new device, El-Mul has also developed a proprietary chemical vapor deposition (CVD) process that grows single CNTs inside cathode wells 4 microns deep.
El-Mul’s European partner intends to use the revolutionary E-Beam device in its next generation SEM and TEM instruments, as well as in other products. El-Mul will market the device as part of its proprietary E-Beam On-a-Chip™ platform. The company has been granted US and international patents for the CNT field emitter source and is also developing multi-dimensional arrays of source devices based on the same platform that will enable synchronized use of hundreds or thousands of CNT field emitter sources on a single chip.
Among potential markets for the CNT E-beam device are: 40 nm E-beam lithography, metrology and inspection tools (for semiconductor manufacturing); mass spectrometry tools (for life sciences research); advanced medical devices and field emission displays.
El-Mul Technologies has 14 years experience in the design and manufacture of electron and ion detectors for a variety of industries, and has pioneered nanoscale devices since 2001.