CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--Using magnetic levitation to increase precision in
making integrated circuits is the goal of a technology-licensing
agreement between MIT and Integrated Solutions, Inc., of Tewksbury,
The agreement permits Integrated Solutions (ISI), a developer and
manufacturer of ultra-precise machines for semiconductor production,
exclusive right to apply the magnetic levitation technology developed by
Professor David Trumper of the Department of Mechanical Engineering in
the design and manufacture of ISI's wafer stepper tool for printing
integrated circuit patterns.
Magnetic levitation (mag-lev) technology offers the promise of
extremely fast and accurate frictionless positioning of the silicon
wafers on which integrated circuit chips are fabricated. The process is
called microlithography. ISI engineers expect to be able to position
stepper stages, on which wafers are photographically imaged, with
accuracy measured at better than 10 nanometers. A nanometer is one
billionth of a meter.
MIT holds three patents in mag-lev technology which are available
exclusively to Integrated Solutions for microlithography applications
under the terms of the agreement.
The mag-lev technology will be used to replace the current fine set
stage and long travel stages of a wafer stepper capable of eight inches
of travel, according to Dr. Larry F. Thompson, Integrated Solutions,
Inc. Vice President for Product Development.
"This agreement is a good example of a significant American
university technology discovery finding application in high tech in a
short period of time. It illustrates the direct effect university
research can have on American industry in a highly competitive, high
technology-driven worldwide industry." Dr. Thompson noted.
The MIT technology developments will be incorporated with a
recently announced CRADA (Cooperative Research and Development
Agreement) for ISI to exclusively share mag-lev technology research
results with Sandia National Laboratories, he said.
"I have absolutely no doubt that this new mag-lev precision
measurement and motion technology will have a profound effect on next
generation semiconductor production equipment , such as wafer steppers,
already under development.," Dr. Thomson said.