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Significant Grant for Greener Semiconductor Technology from Business Finland

Aalto University, in collaboration with the industrial partners Applied Materials in Finland (Picosun), PiBond and Volatec has been awarded a major Business Finland grant for the project “New chemistries for resource efficient semiconductor manufacturing”.
Dr. Ramin Ghiyasi
Dr. Ramin Ghiyasi working in the CHEMI-SEMI project holding a silicon wafer after atomic layer deposition, Department of Chemistry and Material Science

Aalto University, in collaboration with the industrial partners Applied Materials in Finland (Picosun), PiBond and Volatec has been awarded a major Business Finland grant for the project “New chemistries for resource efficient semiconductor manufacturing”. This Co-innovation project led by Aalto is part of the Picosun-led Ecosystem ‘Chip Zero’, the first semiconductor ecosystem in Finland with a mission to develop chips with zero lifetime emissions. Professors Maarit Karppinen and Antti Karttunen from the Department of Chemistry and Materials Science are leading this research on behalf of Aalto University. 

The envisioned project holds immense significance as the semiconductors increasingly permeate almost every aspect of modern life and very few are aware of the enormous carbon capital that is required for manufacturing semiconductor chips. Currently the semiconductor industry is one of the most resource intensive industries in the world with every generation of chips increasing the environmental cost.

“In this joint Co-innovation project, we will develop new chemistries and processes for resource-efficient and environmentally friendly fabrication chains in semiconductor industry”, Prof. Karppinen explains. “This challenging goal will be addressed by combining insightful experimental new material and process development and optimization research with computational modelling approaches to aid and guide the experimental efforts”, Prof. Karttunen continues.

In this project, novel precursors will be developed, and new environmentally benign solvents are searched for material formulations, to replace the present more hazardous compounds.  As per Dr. Marja Tiitta from Volatec, “purification of the material sources and more efficient recycling of the precursors are examples of the central themes of the project.”

This Co-innovation project focuses on several major aspects that support the overall Chip Zero Veturi project targets: (1) use of less hazardous chemicals, (2) reduced chemical consumption, (3) new and/or optimized processes, (4) and energy-efficient manufacturing. According to Dr. Thomas Gädda from PiBond, “these challenging targets aiming at greener semiconductor technology can only be addressed through persistent close collaboration between leading industry and academic actors with complementary competences”.

The project unites experts from different yet closely related fields such as, ALD precursor development, ALD process development and computational modelling under one umbrella. “The project combines the leading expertise of relevant domestic industry and university groups and is tightly intertwined in our extensive international research networks, which will significantly support the research carried out in the project”, says Dr.Riina Ritasalo from Picosun.

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