UNT and the Semiconductor Research Corporation will form a new research center focused on the fundamental understanding of advanced plasma processes and insulators used in manufacturing state-of-the-art semiconductor chips.
Jointly funded by UNT and the SRC with an annual budget for at least three years of approximately $850,000, the mission of the Center for Electronic Material Processing and Integration (CEMPI) is to ensure semiconductor devices continue to increase in performance while decreasing in size. Plasma processing is used throughout every stage in the manufacturing of semiconductor chips, including depositing, etching and cleaning materials.
Collaborating as part of the center will be a team of 12 researchers from UNT, the University of Maryland, University of California at Berkeley, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, Pennsylvania State University, Columbia University, University of Texas at Arlington, University of Michigan and Arizona State University.
The center is led by Jeffry Kelber, UNT professor of chemistry, and officially began operations on April 1.
"UNT has a rich history of research in the surface and interface chemistry of semiconductor processing. As semiconductor devices continue to shrink in size and grow in complexity, the control of these surfaces and interfaces over atomic dimensions becomes crucial to further advances. Better plasma processes will be a major tool in achieving that goal," Kelber says. "The emerging stature of UNT as a research institution makes UNT an outstanding location for the center, with the ability to achieve research synergies and add to the scope of center research going forward."
Plans to build a clean room and nanofabrication facility are currently under way, an addition that will extensively augment UNT's existing materials characterization and analysis resources. Driven by Vish Prasad, UNT's vice president for research and economic development, the university is among an elite group of public institutions nationwide that offer this unique complement of facilities and high-powered instruments. Depending on future funding, the center could also logically expand its research to additional advanced semiconductor topics.
The SRC is the world's leading university-research consortium for semiconductors and related technologies.
Sarah Bahari in UNT News Service can be reached at email@example.com.