AIXTRON Joins IMEC's Sub-45 nm Research Platform as Equipment Partner

3/15/2004 - AIXTRON AG, the German equipment supplier, announced that they will install a 200/300 mm multi-chamber Tricent® platform in IMEC's 300 mm clean room, for Atomic Vapor Deposition (AVD®) of advanced CMOS gate stacks, joining, at the same time, IMEC's sub-45 nm research platform as an equipment partner.

Sub-45 nm process technologies will require novel materials and innovative deposition solutions to stay at the forefront of the semiconductor technology roadmap. This is particularly true for the transistor gate stack where many top IC manufacturers are putting in substantial effort to overcome the hurdles limiting the realization of future device scaling.

IMEC's collaborative sub-45 nm research program on high-k oxides and metal electrodes, targets future transistor generations two to three nodes ahead of today's state-of-the-art IC production. In the framework of this program, AIXTRON announced that they have entered into a 3-year Joint Development Program (JDP) with IMEC using AVD® for deposition of novel materials for high-k and metal gate stacks for the next generation of scaled transistor concepts.

Both dual and single metal gate options will be pursued. This new partnership will be an integral part of IMEC's sub-45 nm research platform conducted in close co-operation with many of the top IC manufacturers worldwide.

Major milestones of this high-k/metal gate joint development program will include:

In conjunction with this project, AIXTRON will install a Tricent® 200/300 mm CMOS cluster platform, specifically tailored for sub-70 nm technology nodes in IMEC's new 300 mm clean room. This Tricent platform features an Atomic Vapor Deposition (AVD®) module for gate dielectrics deposition e.g. HfSixOy, and a metal AVD® module for the deposition of advanced electrode materials e.g. Ru, TiN, and Ta(Si)N. AIXTRON's patented proprietary AVD® technology enables atomic scale thickness control, while achieving high deposition rates, by utilizing the unique TRIJET pulsed precursor injection source.

This proprietary technology allows for the simultaneous injection of precursor chemistries, providing outstanding control of the deposition of multi-component materials. Also included in this cluster will be a rapid thermal annealing module, including plasma nitridation and oxidation features, which will ensure flexible pre- and post-deposition interface engineering capability.

"AIXTRON's flexible MOCVD technology allows a broad assessment of several material candidates which will enhance our high-k/metal gate research," said Professor Gilbert Declerck, President and CEO of IMEC. "Additionally, AIXTRON's 20 years expertise in III/V equipment and process technology certifies AIXTRON also as key partner in the framework of IMEC's program on Germanium-based CMOS devices. We see this collaboration as a first step towards a more elaborated collaboration in the area of Germanium-based devices for which profound deposition expertise of III/V materials is absolutely crucial."

"This agreement represents an important step forward in further strengthening AIXTRON's position for providing enabling deposition solutions for these emerging semiconductor applications. By forging this partnership with one of the top research organizations in the industry, like IMEC, AIXTRON will remain at the forefront of cutting edge enabling MOCVD process technology development, building on its 20-year history of delivering complex material solutions to the high tech industry. We have been highly impressed by the professionalism and the technical competencies of the IMEC team, and look forward to combining our knowledge and experience to develop solutions to address these new material challenges. Equally, this program represents an important complementary effort to AIXTRON's on-going high-k development activities within the MEDEA T207 program at STMicroelectronics in Crolles (F)," said Tim McEntee, Executive Vice President and COO Semiconductor Equipment/ AIXTRON AG.

AIXTRON is, as verified by an independent market research institute, the world leading supplier of equipment for semiconductor epitaxy. Its equipment is used by a diverse range of customers worldwide to manufacture critical, advanced components such as HBTs, PHEMTs, MESFETs, Lasers, LEDs, Detectors and VCSELs used in fiber optic communication systems, wireless and mobile telephony applications, optical storage devices, illumination, signaling and lighting, as well as a range of other leading edge technologies.

Originally focusing on compound semiconductor applications over the last years AIXTRON has broadened it's product port folio to enabling MOCVD Technologies for advanced materials for next generations of main stream semiconductor devices and Organic LED applications. To date, AIXTRON's total installed base of systems exceeds 800 tools worldwide.

AIXTRON AG (FSE: AIX ISIN DE0005066203) is listed in the Prime Standard and Tec-DAX of the German Stock Exchange (Deutsche Börse) and is included in the MSCI World Index. Please visit our website at for further information.

About IMEC
IMEC is a world leading independent research center in nanoelectronics and nanotechnology. Its research focuses on the next-generation of chips and systems, and on the enabling technologies for ambient intelligence. IMEC's research bridges the gap between fundamental research at universities and technology development in industry. Its unique balance of processing and system know-how, intellectual property portfolio, state-of-the-art infrastructure and a strong network of companies, universities and research institutes worldwide, positions IMEC as a key partner with which to develop and improve technologies for future systems.

IMEC is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium and has representatives in the US, China and Japan. Its staff of more than 1300 people includes over 380 industrial residents and guest researchers. In 2003, its revenues were EUR 145 million. Further information on IMEC can be found on

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