Electron imaging program receives funding from NWO KIC call

NWO announced that ARCNL, Delft University and ASML will receive funding for their research program ‘Fundamentals of Electron Beam Inspection and Metrology’. ARCNL group leaders Paul Planken and Roland Bliem are participating.
The program is enabled by the call ‘Demand-driven Partnerships for Consortia’, which is part of NWO’s Knowledge and Innovation Covenant (KIC) research program. The total budget amounts to 4 million euro, of which 2.3 million euro is funded by ASML.

Credits: Ivar Pel

There is a growing demand for smaller and more powerful computer chips. A major challenge to meet this demand is that when components are extremely small, it is hard to make them visible and inspect with light. Inspection with electrons offers a solution, but the technique still has major, fundamental shortcomings. For example, the throughput of inspection with electron microscopes is still far too low and exposure with electrons also leads to damage and imaging errors that make it difficult to achieve a reliable image.
Together, ARCNL, Delft University and ASML will work on getting a better fundamental understanding of what causes the damage and the imaging errors. These insights will be used to realize faster and more reliable electron imaging for the semiconductor industry.

“ASML has had an excellent relationship with the academic world since its early years,” says Timon Fliervoet, system architect electron beam systems at ASML and guest researcher at TU Delft. “I am, therefore, very enthusiastic about this collaboration with TU Delft and ARCNL. When industrial engineering and fundamental science come together, meaningful innovations can emerge. At the same time, this collaboration offers the opportunity to work with and possibly attract talented PhD candidates.”

Read more on the NWO website