Multiproject graphene wafer runs aim at transistors

Multiproject graphene wafer runs aim at transistors

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

A multiproject wafer scheme for making graphene devices will support the next generation of sensors and transistors

The €20m 2D Experimental Pilot Line (2D-EPL) project is supporting volume production of graphene devices on 200mm and 300mm wafers. This is in addition to the €1bn Graphene flagship project that includes partners such as Airbus, BMW and ABB.

“The assessment we made three years ago for the semiconductor integration was that there is a big gap between what is expected from the semiconductor industry and with the EPL we bring together tool suppliers such as Zeiss and Oxford Instruments,” said Cedric Huyghebaert, technical leader of the 2D-EPL project and programme manager for exploratory material at imec.

The EPL project has 11 members with a advisory board that includes chip makers Infineon, Xfab and ams as well as chip and system designer Nokia.

“What we want to do is build the ecosystem with European tool vendors to add these tools to the shelf of the semiconductor industry,” he said. “There is already graphene on the market but there is still a gap in what the semiconductor industry expects, its all about the interface control,” he said.

“In this project we will focus on maturing these materials and that’s already quite challenging, going from 2in wafers to 300mm and stabilising that,” he said.

This scaling is the key.

“While the graphene is delivered by a vendor to the wafers, but the wafers are exposed to atmosphere during transfer and this has a big effect as interfaces are so important so we would like to increase the level of control to bring the processes closer to the standard semiconductor processing to reduce the variability. It’s about maturing and coming closer to the standards of the semiconductor industry and we have to develop that together with the supply chain and making it accessible.”

“We will distribute the work with a multiproject wafer (MPW) runs defined during the project,” he added.

Next: Graphene 2d-EPL MPW runs

VTT Research in Finland and AMO in Germany will focus on graphene while imec will focus on transistor applications using graphene with transition metal dichalcogenides (TDMC) as 2D semiconductors.

“We have MPW in pillar one of the project starting in 2022,” said Sanna Arpiainen, research team leader at VTT Research in Finland. “The MPW by VTT, imec and AMO will have cost based pricing and a single point of contact and the goal is to transfer this to Europractice after 2024,” she said.

The first MPW run will be for bottom gated graphene sensors by October 2022 at AMO, with a bottom and liquid gated sensor MPW run by March 2023 at VTT. “Then there will be other runs every six months for electronics and sensors at AMO,” said  Arpiainen. There will also be small production runs for partners in the project.

This will culminate in a run at imec for TMDC transistors ready by September 2024.

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