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Site: National Chiao-Tung University (NCTU)
Hsinchu, Taiwan ROC
Date Visited: 17 April 1997
WTEC: D. Shaw (report author)
NCTU has the most abundant resources for microelectronic research among the universities in Taiwan in terms of manpower, equipment, and research funds. It boasts of six research institutes in the College of Electronics Engineering and Computer Sciences, covering such subject areas as information engineering, control, communication, optoelectronics, and computer science. The Institute of Electronics, the biggest of the six institutes, has more than 40 faculty members, whose research ranges from model simulation and nanometer-sized MOS and bipolar devices, to thin-film deposition and multilayer superlattice fabrication. In addition, there is a Semiconductor Center, which appears to be a training center for semiconductor production engineers. A complete line for IC processing based on 10 cm wafers is housed in its Class-10,000 cleanroom facilities. Situated near the Science/Industrial Park in Hsinchu, NCTU is a major force in Taiwan's high-tech industry. Its close relationship with industry is also reflected in the university's numerous research grants and contracts from industrial firms. According to university officials, in 1995 NCTU ranked first among the institutes worldwide in publications in IEEE Transactions on Electronic Devices and Electron Device Letters. The crown jewel of NCTU is the National Nano Device Laboratories (NDL).
I was met by Prof. M.S. Feng, Professor at NCTU's Institute of Materials Science and Engineering and Deputy Director of NDL. During an official briefing, Prof. Feng told me that NDL was founded in 1993 as Taiwan's response to the increasingly competitive world of VLSI R&D. By the end of 1995, NDL had completed advanced R&D work on 0.18 micron IC process modules. Prof. Feng told me that NDL's goal is to reach 0.13 micron processing by the year 2000. Overall, unlike the corresponding facilities at Cornell University in the United States, NDL is a production R&D facility with a carefully laid out roadmap for the development of IC technology.
Dr. M.C. Jiang, an associate researcher at NDL, led me through a guided tour. He showed me some of the key modules completed so far by the NDL personnel:
In addition to the module development work, NDL provides equipment services to universities and other organizations for semiconductor-related research. The four major universities mentioned in the Overview in this Appendix are all frequent users of NDL's equipment. In fact, many of the research achievements in NDL would not be possible without the input from the other universities, which have their graduate students conduct their experiments at NDL.
To integrate resources among research organizations, NSC and Taiwan's Ministry of Economy have encouraged cooperation between major universities and research institutes to conduct massive-scale R&D projects on advanced technology. The joint project between NDL and the Synchrotron Radiation Research Center (SRRC) on X-ray lithography is a good example of such principles at work. The project started in April 1996 and will last for three years. SRRC will build a beam line and a cleanroom to house lithographic tools under the guidance of NDL. Both sides will share their equipment, expertise, and manpower. This project marks Taiwan's first attempt towards deep submicron X-ray lithography.