MICRO MAGNETICS, INC. RECEIVES FUNDING FROM NIST FOR DEVELOPING SPINTRONICS-BASED METROLOGY FOR THE SEMICONDUCTOR INDUSTRY
FALL RIVER, MA - September 12, 2003 - Micro Magnetics, Inc., a start-up company with headquarters in Fall River at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Advanced Technology Manufacturing Center (ATMC) has been awarded a $2 million grant from the federal National Institute of Standards and Technology's Advanced Technology Program (ATP). Over the next three years, Micro Magnetics will develop a nano-scale magnetic tunnel junction (MTJ) current-sensing system for integrated circuit inspection. This innovative new system will help the United States maintain the lead in semiconductors by providing vastly improved metrology for in-process inspection.
The ATP program provides cost-shared funding to industry-led teams, which can include non-profits and universities, to help advance challenging, high-risk research and development projects that have the potential to spark important, broad-based economic or social benefits for the United States. The program supports projects that industry cannot fully fund on its own because of the significant technical risks. ATP awards are made on the basis of rigorous, competitive peer review of the scientific and technical merit of each proposal. The ATP program accelerates enabling technology research, but does not support product development work.
"The spintronics-based metrology to be developed in this project will be an enabling technology to facilitate the continuation of the drive to smaller and less expensive devices," says Dr. Gang Xiao, chairman and founder of Micro Magnetics. "The success of our research will help ensure that the U.S. semiconductor industry remains a significant component of our national economy," Dr. Xiao added.
Advanced manufacturing processes for making semiconductor chips smaller and smaller have introduced new types of nano-scale faults that are buried in the ever-more-complex architectures of electronic integrated circuits. Before long, the most advanced technologies for fault isolation and failure analysis may be unable to cope adequately with new nano-scale circuitry features.
Prior to receiving this grant, Micro Magnetics had developed both a basic magnetic microscope for profiling current densities within the integrated circuits and a proprietary new sensing device called a magnetic tunnel junction. This sensor is based on spintronics, the discipline that exploits the spin properties of the electron to develop a new generation of electronic devices. Micro Magnetics now proposes to develop an advanced system employing a magnetic microscope that exploits spintronics to detect and analyze nano-scale faults and abnormalities embedded in multilayered circuits.
At the heart of this technology is an array of ultra sensitive MTJ sensors that detect the microscopic magnetic fields emitted by operating integrated circuits, which are used to generate an image of the density and layout of the electrical currents within the circuits. Using this scanning MTJ microscope, engineers can non-invasively pinpoint circuit defects down to the smallest units, such as transistors and copper interconnects.
Micro Magnetics is the leader in the commercial applications of "spintronics" an exciting new technology that combines the properties of electron spin and charge to enable devices to deliver superior and unprecedented performance. Micro Magnetics evolved from research at Brown University and has obtained an exclusive license from Brown University on technology transfer. The company provides innovative solutions, products, and services in semiconductor metrology and ultra-sensitive field sensing. To find out more, visit the Company's website at www.micromagnetics.com.
The UMass Dartmouth Advanced Technology and Manufacturing Center is located at the SouthCoast Research and Technology Park in Fall River, MA. The ATMC leverages University resources for economic development by focusing in three strategic areas: research & partnering with industry; enabling and accelerating new technology ventures; and hosting technical, business and educational conferences and workshops.
The Technology Venture Center, where Micro Magnetics operates, provides infrastructure for emerging companies as they grow and develop into the future technology and manufacturing leaders of Southeastern Massachusetts. For more information, please visit www.atmc.umassd.edu.