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.