A far sighted partnership between a leading University, a regional development agency and early stage investment firm has created a university spin out company with access to unique equipment that is poised to deliver the next technological leap for the world's semiconductor industry - Virtual Substrates.
AdvanceSis Ltd (a company spun out from the University of Warwick) has worked with the University's Department of Physics, and Advantage West Midlands to invest £2 million to acquire an ASM Epsilon 2000 Low Pressure Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD) Reactor, together with a new clean room suite for wafer processing.
The new facilities add to the well established University resources in Molecular Beam Epitaxy, and provide a unique capability to carry out epitaxial research and development using the two complementary approaches.
The main focus of the work will be on the growth of high quality strain-tuning platforms, or 'Virtual Substrates' of silicon germanium, and silicon germanium carbon. This group of advanced materials is believed by many to be one of the key "booster" technologies needed to sustain the ever increasing performance we have come to expect from semiconductors (often called Moore's law) Recent research at the University of Warwick, under the direction of Professor Evan Parker, has already yielded fundamental insights into the dynamics of epitaxial growth and relaxation of silicon germanium, and has led to a number of approaches to the production of Virtual Substrates with substantially reduced defects, such as threading dislocations, which can drastically affect yields in typical CMOS processing of Integrated Circuits.
Professor Stuart Palmer, Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Warwick said "This is a clear example of the substantial gains that can be made by collaboration between university, public and private sectors to address significant global industry challenges", Lee Haen, Director of ASM Epsilon Product Marketing, stated "Installations at outstanding research facilities, like the University of Warwick, keep the ASM Epsilon at the forefront of emerging epitaxy applications. The recent installation of a fully equipped Epsilon 2000 at the University of Warwick will enable advanced epitaxial research applicable to future CMOS technology nodes. We eagerly await the advanced device data that will be generated on the ASM Epsilon tool."
Dr Robin Godfrey, CEO of AdvanceSis said "The new facilities allow us to create a seamless development path from leading edge fundamental research through to industrial proof of concept" AdvanceSis Ltd was set up with seed investment from the Mercia University Challenge Fund to commercialise Intellectual Property in semiconductor processing. The Company received a further, substantial investment in November 2004 from Seven Spires Investments Ltd.
Dr Robin Godfrey
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