Nano News & Events

GlobalFoundries Halts 7-Nanometer Chip Development

InterNano Industry News - October 20, 2018 - 3:45am
After installing extreme-ultraviolet lithography, foundry finds it doesn’t have enough customers for itIn a major shift in strategy, GlobalFoundries is halting its development of next-generation chipmaking processes. It had planned to move to the so-called 7-nm node, then begin to use extreme-ultraviolet lithography (EUV) to make that process cheaper. From there, it planned to develop even more advanced lithography that would allow for 5- and 3-nanometer nodes. Despite having installed at least one EUV machine at its Fab 8 facility in Malta, N.Y., all those plans are now on indefinite hold, the company announced Monday.  The move leaves only three companies reaching for the highest rungs of the Moore’s Law ladder: Intel, Samsung, and TSMC. It’s a huge turnabout for GlobalFoundries. During a tour of Fab 8 last October, executives told IEEE Spectrum that 7-nm chips would be, at the very least, in limited production by the close of 2018. At the time, the company was completing installation of its first EUV lithography machine, a delicate and extremely expensive task. GlobalFoundries rationale for the move is that there are not enough customers that need bleeding-edge 7-nm processes to make it profitable. “While the leading edge gets most of the headlines, fewer customers can afford the transition to 7 nm and finer geometries,” said Samuel Wang, research vice president at Gartner, in a GlobalFoundries press release.  “The vast majority of today’s fabless customers are looking to get more value out of each technology generation to leverage the substantial investments required to design into each technology node,” explained GlobalFoundries CEO Tom Caulfield in a press release. “Essentially, these nodes are transitioning to design platforms serving multiple waves of applications, giving each node greater longevity. This industry dynamic has resulted in fewer fabless clients designing into the outer limits of Moore’s Law. We are shifting our resources and focus by doubling down on our investments in differentiated technologies across our entire portfolio that are most relevant to our clients in growing market segments.” (The dynamic Caulfield describes is something the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Agency is working to disrupt with its $1.5-billion Electronics Resurgence Initiative. Darpa’s partners are trying to collapse the cost of design and allow older process nodes to keep improving by using 3D technology.) Specifically, GlobalFoundries is doubling down on chips made using it’s 14/12-nm FinFET process and plans to expand and develop the set of features offered at that node such as RF, embedded memory, low power, and other technologies. “Lifting the burden of investing at the leading edge will allow GF to make more targeted investments in technologies that really matter to the majority of chip designers in fast-growing markets such as RF, IoT, 5G, industrial, and automotive,” said Gartner’s Wang. Pressing pause on advanced manufacturing nodes was a wise move because it will improve GlobalFoundries financial prospects, according to VLSI Research analyst G. Dan Hutcheson. “If you’re a customer your biggest question is not just the technology but financially stability,” he says. Foundries “really have to have a path to profitability.”  GlobalFoundries isn’t the only company struggling with its crawl further down the Moore’s Law rabbit hole. Recently, Intel revealed that it was delaying its move to a 10-nm process until 2019. (Intel’s 10-nm process is thought to be roughly equivalent to others’ 7-nm processes.) That puts a yawning five-year gap between manufacturing nodes for the company.  The delay has allowed TSMC, which began offering 7-nm this year, to pass Intel. AMD, once GlobalFoundries’ biggest processor customer, has already been working with TSMC on 7-nm chips and—in line with GlobalFoundries plans—announced that it will focus “the breadth” its 7-nm resources there going forward. In a blog post Monday, AMD CTO Mark Papermaster wrote that the company’s first 7-nm GPU will come out later this year, and its first 7-nm server processor will launch in 2019. That would put AMD on a more advanced manufacturing node than Intel for the first time this century, notes ExtremeTech. Of the remaining three bleeding-edge manufacturers, only TSMC doesn’t compete directly with at least some potential customers. “It puts TSMC in a very unique position, and I’m sure they’ll leverage that,” says VLSI’s Hutcheson. The change at GlobalFoundries will involve layoffs among the staff at Malta. The number could be in the hundreds, according to The Albany Business Review.   This post was corrected on 18 September. Mark Papermaster is AMD’s CTO not it’s CEO. (That’s Lisa Su.)
Categories: Nanotechnology News

EU-OSHA Posts Info Sheet on Manufactured Nanomaterials in the Workplace

InterNano Industry News - October 20, 2018 - 3:45am
On October 3, 2018, the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA) published an info sheet on “Manufactured nanomaterials in the workplace.”  According to the info sheet, “[t]he requirements for managing nanomaterials in the workplace are the same as those for managing other hazardous chemicals, including the provision of information and training for workers, carrying out risk assessments and taking action to ensure a safe workplace.”  The prerequisites for fulfilling these demands are different for nanoparticles than for most other chemicals, however.  The info sheet notes that knowledge about the risks associated with nanomaterials is still limited, and “there are no occupational exposure limits (yet) for any nanomaterials, although reference values have been suggested.”  Therefore, the info sheet states, the precautionary principle needs to be applied to keep exposure at a level at which the risk can be expected to be under control, even if the nanomaterial should prove to be more hazardous than it is currently known to be.  The info sheet gives general, practical advice on how to apply the precautionary principle in managing nanomaterials.
Categories: Nanotechnology News

Researchers quickly harvest 2-D materials, bringing them closer to commercialization

InterNano Industry News - October 20, 2018 - 3:45am
Since the 2003 discovery of the single-atom-thick carbon material known as graphene, there has been significant interest in other types of 2-D materials as well. These materials could be stacked together like Lego bricks to form a range of devices with different functions, including operating as semiconductors. In this way, they could be used to create ultra-thin, flexible, transparent and wearable electronic devices. However, separating a bulk crystal material into 2-D flakes for use in electronics has proven difficult to do on a commercial scale. The existing process, in which individual flakes are split off from the bulk crystals by repeatedly stamping the crystals onto an adhesive tape, is unreliable and time-consuming, requiring many hours to harvest enough material and form a device. Now researchers in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at MIT have developed a technique to harvest 2-inch diameter wafers of 2-D material within just a few minutes. They can then be stacked together to form an electronic device within an hour. The technique, which they describe in a paper published in the journal Science, could open up the possibility of commercializing electronic devices based on a variety of 2-D materials, according to Jeehwan Kim, an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, who led the research. The paper’s co-first authors were Sanghoon Bae, who was involved in flexible device fabrication, and Jaewoo Shim, who worked on the stacking of the 2-D material monolayers. Both are postdocs in Kim’s group. The paper’s co-authors also included students and postdocs from within Kim’s group, as well as collaborators at Georgia Tech, the University of Texas, Yonsei University in South Korea, and the University of Virginia. Sang-Hoon Bae, Jaewoo Shim, Wei Kong, and Doyoon Lee in Kim’s research group equally contributed to this work.  “We have shown that we can do monolayer-by-monolayer isolation of 2-D materials at the wafer scale,” Kim says. “Secondly, we have demonstrated a way to easily stack up these wafer-scale monolayers of 2-D material.” The researchers first grew a thick stack of 2-D material on top of a sapphire wafer. They then applied a 600-nanometer-thick nickel film to the top of the stack. Since 2-D materials adhere much more strongly to nickel than to sapphire, lifting off this film allowed the researchers to separate the entire stack from the wafer. What’s more, the adhesion between the nickel and the individual layers of 2-D material is also greater than that between each of the layers themselves. As a result, when a second nickel film was then added to the bottom of the stack, the researchers were able to peel off individual, single-atom thick monolayers of 2-D material. That is because peeling off the first nickel film generates cracks in the material that propagate right through to the bottom of the stack, Kim says. Once the first monolayer collected by the nickel film has been transferred to a substrate, the process can be repeated for each layer. “We use very simple mechanics, and by using this controlled crack propagation concept we are able to isolate monolayer 2-D material at the wafer scale,” he says. The universal technique can be used with a range of different 2-D materials, including hexagonal boron nitride, tungsten disulfide, and molybdenum disulfide. In this way it can be used to produce different types of monolayer 2-D materials, such as semiconductors, metals, and insulators, which can then be stacked together to form the 2-D heterostructures needed for an electronic device. “If you fabricate electronic and photonic devices using 2-D materials, the devices will be just a few monolayers thick,” Kim says. “They will be extremely flexible, and can be stamped on to anything,” he says. The process is fast and low-cost, making it suitable for commercial operations, he adds. The researchers have also demonstrated the technique by successfully fabricating arrays of field-effect transistors at the wafer scale, with a thickness of just a few atoms. “The work has a lot of potential to bring 2-D materials and their heterostructures towards real-world applications,” says Philip Kim, a professor of physics at Harvard University, who was not involved in the research. The researchers are now planning to apply the technique to develop a range of electronic devices, including a nonvolatile memory array and flexible devices that can be worn on the skin. They are also interested in applying the technique to develop devices for use in the “internet of things,” Kim says. “All you need to do is grow these thick 2-D materials, then isolate them in monolayers and stack them up. So it is extremely cheap — much cheaper than the existing semiconductor process. This means it will bring laboratory-level 2-D materials into manufacturing for commercialization,” Kim says. “That makes it perfect for IoT networks, because if you were to use conventional semiconductors for the sensing systems it would be expensive.”
Categories: Nanotechnology News

Slides Available from Scientific Workshop on Grouping of Nanomaterials

InterNano Industry News - October 20, 2018 - 3:45am
On September 12-13, 2018, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), NanoReg2, and GRACIOUS hosted a “Scientific Workshop:  Grouping of Nanomaterials.”  The Workshop brought together 120 nanotechnology specialists from Europe, North America, and Asia to discuss a bottleneck in nanomaterials development and testing.  The agenda and the following slides from the workshop have been posted online: Welcome slides. Session 1: Nanomaterial Grouping:  Principles, History, and Context: OECD WPMN Initiatives on “Grouping and read-across for the safety assessment of manufactured nanomaterials”: Juan Riego Sintes, European Commission (EC) Joint Research Center (JRC); Regulatory priorities/needs linked to Grouping (EU): Celia Tanarro, European Chemicals Agency (ECHA); and Regulatory Priorities and Information Needs Linked to Grouping of Nanomaterials (U.S. perspective): Kenneth Moss, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Session 2: Cutting Edge Grouping Frameworks: The NanoReg2 Grouping Approach: Andrea Haase, Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR); Draft GRACIOUS framework for grouping and read-across of nanomaterials for regulatory risk assessment and safe-by-design: Agnes Oomen, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM); Environmental hazard and risk of nanomaterials: grouping concepts for aquatic and terrestrial toxicity:  Dana Kühnel, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ); and Adverse outcome pathways for grouping of nanomaterials: Sabina Halappanavar, Health Canada. Session 3: Grouping in Practice — Connecting to Test Methods and Test Strategies: OECD WPMN Expert Meeting on Physico-Chemical Parameters Framework for the Risk Assessment of Nanomaterials: Kenneth Moss, EPA; NanoReg2 grouping case studies — Human tox: Blanca Suarez-Merino, Swiss Center of Applied Human Toxicology (SCAHT)/TEMAS; Ecotoxicity Data for the Grouping of Nanomaterials: José María Navas, Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Tecnología Agraria y Alimentaria (INIA); GRACIOUS Hypothesis and IATAs: Vicki Stone, Heriot-Watt University; nanoGRAVUR: Nanostructured materials — Grouping in view of worker, consumer and environmental safety and risk minimization:  Thomas Kuhlbusch, Federal Institute for Occupational Safety an Health (BAuA), and Wendel Wohlleben, BASF; and NanoToxClass: Establishing NM grouping strategies according to toxicity and biological effects for supporting risk assessment:  Nils Krüger, Evonik, & Martin von Bergen, UFZ. Concluding remarks and close
Categories: Nanotechnology News

Graphene puts nanomaterials in their place

InterNano Industry News - October 20, 2018 - 3:45am
Nanomaterials offer unique optical and electrical properties and bottom-up integration within industrial semiconductor manufacturing processes. However, they also present one of the most challenging research problems. In essence, semiconductor manufacturing today lacks methods for depositing nanomaterials at predefined chip locations without chemical contamination. We think that graphene, one of the thinnest, strongest, most flexible and most conductive materials on the planet, could help solve this manufacturing challenge.
Categories: Nanotechnology News

High-performance, flexible, transparent force touch sensor for wearable devices

InterNano Industry News - October 20, 2018 - 3:45am
Researchers have reported a high-performance and transparent nanoforce touch sensor by developing a thin, flexible, and transparent hierarchical nanocomposite (HNC) film. The research team says their sensor simultaneously features all the necessary characters for industrial-grade application: high sensitivity, transparency, bending insensitivity, and manufacturability.
Categories: Nanotechnology News

Members of Illinois' Nanomanufacturing Node Develop New Tool for Nanomanufacturing - HPCwire

InterNano Industry News - October 20, 2018 - 3:45am
HPCwireMembers of Illinois' Nanomanufacturing Node Develop New Tool for NanomanufacturingHPCwireThat's where Illinois' Nanomanufacturing Node comes into play. The first of its kind, the NSF-funded nanoMFG node was awarded with a five-year grant in 2017 to advance the reliability, efficiency and general scientific understanding of ...and more »
Categories: Nanotechnology News

Postdoctoral Position in Experimental Condensed Matter Physics - Physics

InterNano Industry News - October 20, 2018 - 3:45am
Postdoctoral Position in Experimental Condensed Matter PhysicsPhysicsPlease see http://www.physics.emory.edu/faculty/urazhdin/ for more information about the group. Candidates with experience in nanofabrication, electronic measurements, cryogenics, and/or microwave spectroscopy are particularly encouraged to apply.
Categories: Nanotechnology News

Researchers develop sub-7-nm memory device without nanofabrication - Phys.Org

InterNano Industry News - October 20, 2018 - 3:45am
Phys.OrgResearchers develop sub-7-nm memory device without nanofabricationPhys.OrgIn the new study, the nanomagnets are self-assembled, which involves only a simple sputtering process and does not require any nanofabrication patterning processes. "The most significant part of this research is that we showed sub-5-nm memory cell with ...
Categories: Nanotechnology News

Nano-kirigami: 'Paper-cut' provides model for 3D intelligent nanofabrication - EurekAlert (press release)

InterNano Industry News - October 20, 2018 - 3:45am
EurekAlert (press release)Nano-kirigami: 'Paper-cut' provides model for 3D intelligent nanofabricationEurekAlert (press release)Dr. LI Jiafang, from the Institute of Physics (IOP), Chinese Academy of Sciences, has recently formed an international team to apply kirigami techniques to advanced 3D nanofabrication. Inspired by a traditional Chinese kirigami design called "pulling ...and more »
Categories: Nanotechnology News

Nano: a cleaner option?

InterNano Industry News - October 20, 2018 - 3:45am
Could nanotechnology tidy up the planet without leaving a dangerous residue of its own?It's likely that you've recently swirled nanotechnology down your sink. Antimicrobial silver nanoparticles, for example, are added to food containers, socks, and cleaning products such as floor polish. But could nanoparticles – measuring less than 100 nanometres wide – clean more than just your house? Could nanotechnology tidy up the planet without leaving a dangerous residue of its own?The European Environment Agency estimates that "potentially polluting activities" have occurred at nearly three million EU sites. But nanoparticles could remediate water, soil and air polluted by compounds such as heavy metals and aromatic hydrocarbons. With high reactivity and a larger surface area than the same mass of material in a larger form, nanoparticles are prime candidates for capturing and destroying pollutants. Continue reading...
Categories: Nanotechnology News