Department of Chemistry at the University
of Helsinki, Finland, and ASM Microchemistry Ltd. have renewed their long-term
research agreement. ASM Microchemistry Ltd. is a subsidiary of the semiconductor
processing tool supplier ASM International N.V. based in the Netherlands. The
new agreement is a seamless continuation to the preceding 5-year collaboration
project started in 2004 and includes research funding for four PhD students.
As part of this collaboration, ASM has located its research and development
unit ASM Microchemistry at the campus of the Chemistry Department of the University
of Helsinki. The clean room and laboratory were built and opened in 2004 and
the office was moved into the campus in early 2006.
The collaboration is about Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) which is an advanced
technology for depositing thin film materials in highly controlled manner for
integrated circuits and other applications. Microchemistry and University of
Helsinki have been pioneering the ALD technology since 1987 and 1990, respectively.
Today ASM is a leading ALD equipment and process supplier to the semiconductor
industry, and the University of Helsinki is one of the world's leading academic
research institutes in the field of ALD.
As Dr. Marko Tuominen, Managing Director of ASM Microchemistry put it after
renewal of the agreement: - The more challenging tasks we give to the University
the more successful the scientists are in their work. Also by getting the nearly
impossible done greatly strengthens our position in semiconductor industry in
the form of intellectual property rights.
Furthermore, Tuominen has found the cooperation and physical location close
to University as perfect arrangement for a small research company. He also likes
to emphasize that the basic ALD process screening done in the University greatly
speeds up the development, since the non-working process options have been ruled
out well in advance. This further makes it possible to concentrate more on developing
the working processes and transferring these to ASM’s business units.
- In the current situation of fragmented research funding, this agreement is
exceptional both in terms of length and volume, comment academy professor Markku
Leskelä and professor Mikko Ritala, who head the ALD research group at
the Laboratory of Inorganic Chemistry at the University. - We and our students
also greatly appreciate this kind of collaboration with industry which takes
us to the area where basic and applied research becomes mixed. The questions
we are dealing with in our research are fundamental by their nature, yet their
solutions may find rapid use in the future semiconductor devices.