Site: Nanometer Structure Consortium
Lund University
Department of Solid State Physics
Box 118, S-221 00 Lund, Sweden
Tel: (46) 46-222 00 00; Fax: (46) 46-222 36 37

Date: 14 October 1997

WTEC: E. Hu (report author)


WTEC cochair Evelyn Hu participated in a mini workshop at the University of Lund at which several scientists made presentations on their work, some working within the Nanometer Structure Consortium there, and some working in academia and industry at other locations.

This consortium, based at Lund University, was initiated about 1990. The Coordinator is Professor Lars Samuelson of Lund. It primarily involves the Lund University Solid State Physics group, although the interaction encompasses other departments at Lund, as well as collaborators at other universities such as Chalmers. Having a 10-year lifetime, the consortium is primarily funded by the Natural Sciences Research Council (NFR), and the National Board for Industrial and Technological Development (NUTEK). The consortium is guided by an Advisory Board, which includes industrial members and academic leaders both from Sweden and from other countries. The Chair of the Advisory Board is from industry. Industrial participation is considered important, and Lund hosts an adjunct Professor from Ericsson, who spends 20% of his time at the university, advising students and student projects. The very strong industrial support and commitment is believed to be linked to Swedish industry's recognition of the importance of long term research carried on within the universities. In addition to the funding from NFR and NUTEK, the consortium receives funding from the Research Council for Engineering Sciences (TFR) and also participates within ESPRIT programs, funded by the European Union.

As a point of interest, the graduate student population in this area is not diminishing in Sweden, as is true in many other countries. Part of the reason may lie in the fact that graduate students are given stipends, which are designed to be competitive with what MS students would be paid in industry (total funding for students is collected from grants, the university, and the government). Another factor may be that industry hiring of PhD students has been more stable than in other European countries.

The consortium seems well equipped, having moved into new, expanded facilities in 1983. There are small clean room spaces for TEM and e-beam writing, extensive growth capabilities (gas source MBE, CBE), a newly installed ultrahigh vacuum chemical vapor deposition system for growth of silicon-based materials, and a host of characterization tools: micro PL, atomic force microscopy (AFM), and low temperature, high magnetic field apparatus. A highlight of the program is synthesis of aerosol particles (metals, subsequent conversion to semiconductors: GaAs, InP) with size selection, and the use of AFM manipulation to controllably position the particles. The consortium also makes use of the on-site synchrotron source, MAX-Lab, a national (and international) user facility that has recently brought up a larger, brighter ring that will be used for X-ray lithography, surface studies, and structure studies for biological samples.

The consortium held its annual review on the 13th and 14th of October, with a mixture of invited talks from outside speakers, and talks and posters presented by the consortium students. The invited speakers included Dr. Suhara from Tokyo Institute of Technology and Professor Fukui of Hokkaido University. Both researchers are carrying out joint projects with the consortium. Among the invited speakers were the following:

Thomas Lewin from Ericsson Microwave Systems. He offered an industrial perspective on quantum nanoelectronics, pointing out that although he could not give an answer to "what would nanoelectronic devices be used for," that 50 years ago, one could hardly have predicted the current importance of the transistor. He noted that in 1948, at the time of invention of the transistor, the primary "high tech" companies were major vacuum tube suppliers such as GE, RCA, and Philco. Within ten years, catalyzed by the invention of the transistors, dominance of these companies had been ceded to Motorola, Texas Instruments (which had formerly specialized in geophysics), and Fairchild (which had formerly specialized in camera and instrumentation for air surveys).

Lewin noted the importance and pervasiveness of Moore's Law, and how the transistor has been the pacesetter for technological development; whether we are prepared or not, the scaling down of current technology will place us in the "Nano Era" by about 2010 or so, and we should be prepared for it (Fig. C.1).

Figure C.1. Moore's Law in the "Nano Era."

Another interesting talk and industrial perspective was given by Dr. Sandip Tiwari of IBM, who spoke on "Nanocrystal and quantum-dot memories." His plan is to integrate and take advantage of silicon quantum dots in a more natural way, within the context of "mainstream" silicon electronics. This would entail the controlled and discrete charging of nanodots, placed immediately above a gate oxide in a MOS device, as a means of controlling the source to drain current, with an enormous gain in output compared to input signal. His claim is that such an application can operate at room temperature, integrate and enhance a dominant technology, and not suffer from many of the drawbacks of nanodots, such as long charging/access times and variations in dimension.

Published: September 1999; WTEC Hyper-Librarian