in this issue
Weekly Industry Innovation News Round-up, April 27
9:20 AM MDT | July 12, 2012 | By ALEX SCOTT
A two-year nanocomposite collaboration between Pixelligent Technologies and Brewer Science has yielded a next-generation lithography solution that dramatically improves etch resistance, process window, and line edge roughness while offering broad resist compatibility. The new spin-on hardmask technology incorporates Pixelligent’s nanocrystal and dispersion technologies with Brewer’s polymer technology.
The two companies received a $8.2-million grant from the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Technology Innovation Program to accelerate and scale-up production of Pixelligent’s nanocomposites. Such nanocomposites are expected to have a wide range of semiconductor and microelectronics applications, such as in coatings that can create brighter and more efficient LED displays.
What makes Pixelligent’s nanocrystal technology unique is the ability to produce uniform crystals 2-5 nm in diameter and stably disperse them, without agglomeration, aggregation, or phase separation, says Craig Bandes, Pixelligent president and CEO. “We do this by using an organic capping layer to make them compatible with materials like solvents, polymers, and oils, improving their properties.”
In polymer systems like Brewer’s, the nanocrystals make the material harder and more corrosion- and scratch-resistant. Pixelligent is also working with Argonne National Laboratory to use the nanocrystals in oils to create better lubricants. Potential applications include off-shore wind farms, where less friction and fewer fluid replacements yield significant cost and maintenance benefits, Bandes says.
Founded in 2000, Pixelligent can produce kilogram per day quantities at its Baltimore pilot facility. The company aims to begin commercial-scale sales for initial applications later this year.