9th ASCENT+ Newsletter – October 2023


Meeting in Cork and new projects ahead!
Research Accelerator
Discover Fraunhofer IPMS
ASCENT+ access leads to publication
Meet one of ASCENT+ stars: the AFM at Tyndall

Meeting in Cork and new projects ahead!

Our ASCENT+ team met in person at Tyndall National Institute in Cork, Ireland. Although some of us meet often due to their geographical location, this was a first for new colleagues. The objective of the meeting was not to simply put faces on names, but also to have sincere and detailed discussions.

Over two days, we discussed the results of the Joint Research Activities and reviewed each of our tasks to find opportunities for improvement, in particular towards users of ASCENT+ and future users. ASCENT+ is still welcoming new users (PhD, SME, academic researchers …) and introducing new technologies to its catalogue, to create more research opportunities & expertise. You can check it out in our online Showroom.

Tyndall Flexifab visit
Tyndall Flexifab Cleanroom from the outside. Did you know you can get access to it through ASCENT+?

Being there at Tyndall, we used this unique chance to have a tour of their research facilities.

Research Accelerator

Visiting Fraunhofer: In early October, we launched a new edition of the Research Accelerator, a training programme for early-stage researchers to boost their career and challenge their research.

PhD and post-doc researchers from the University of Glasgow (UK), CICESE-UNAM (Mexico), UCLouvain (Belgium), University of Vigo (Spain), and IISc Bangalore (India) were invited to take part in a two days training in Dresden, Germany, at Fraunhofer IPMS and Fraunhofer IZM-ASSID.

On the agenda, there were visits of the research facilities (including the ∅300mm cleanrooms!) and labs, discovery of the new Center for Advanced CMOS & Heterointegration Saxony.

Thanks to our colleagues at Fraunhofer for organising everything. We sincerely hope that the attendees had a great time, learned new aspects which will in the future develop their research and apply to ASCENT+ programme to use a specific technology to continue their work! Our next RA is about to take place, in France at the CEA-Leti. Applications are closed, but …

… good news is, there will be two more RA in early 2024!

January 24-25 / International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory: The next Research Accelerator will take place in January at INL (Braga, Portugal). PhD, post-doc or early career researchers (<2 years after PhD) can apply! The programme and application process will be announced soon, so be sure to follow our updates and the dedicated page if you’re interested.

Spring 2024 / Tyndall National Institute: Another RA will be organised at Tyndall (Cork, Ireland) in Spring. News of this opportunity & registration details will be published in our next Newsletter.

The RA is a training programme financed by the EU, meaning successful applicants who attend will have their expenses covered by ASCENT+. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Discover Fraunhofer IPMS!

Our colleague Nora Haufe from Fraunhofer IPMS has a message for you! In this short video, you will discover more about Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems and what you can access there through ASCENT+.

Fraunhofer IPMS (Nora Haufe)

ASCENT+ access leads to a new publication

An ongoing access has led to a publication in Microelectronic Engineering entitled “Electron beam lithography and dimensional metrology for fin and nanowire devices on Ge, SiGe and GeOI substrates” with the contributions from Maksym Myronov (ASCENT+ user) and the access team at Tyndall. Here is a short abstract:

“Until now there was no systematic study on the effect of the substrate type on the hydrogen silsesquioxane (HSQ) electron beam lithography (EBL) patterning process. We investigate arrays of line structures with varying width and spacing, starting at 10nm, exposed at varying doses, and developed by salty NaOH and TMAH developers on group IV semiconductor substrates. We demonstrate that the HSQ EBL process on Ge is much more limited in achieving the smallest obtainable features, having optimal uniformity and fidelity, in comparison to Si. Monte-Carlo simulations of the e-beam/substrate interactions for “pure” Si and Ge substrates, and varying content Ge/Si epitaxial layers on Si, suggest that the limitations seen are directly linked to back-scattered electron (BSE) generation. As predicted by the simulations and shown experimentally, improved fidelity and resolution of the features can be achieved by minimizing the (BSE) generation coming from the Ge contribution in the substrates. Finally, from a metrology perspective, it is demonstrated that although line patterns may appear resolved in SEM images, the variation in the brightness across neighbouring lines is a key parameter in understanding the resist clearance between lines, that will affect the next etching step for pattern transfer onto the underlying substrate. These results are important for patterning high-density line structures and nano-device engineering as required for realising state-of-the art laterally stacked group IV multi-channel field effect transistors (FETs).”

Read the full journal paper (open access) – DOI:10.1016/j.mee.2023.112071

Several ASCENT+ access projects led to publications in scientific journals and advances in science, as well as new collaborations for future works. For more details, visit our publications and outputs webpage.

Meet one of ASCENT+ stars: the AFM at Tyndall

Recently, two users accessed the Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) at Tyndall, making the best use of this offering.

T. Wesley Surta, from the Department of Physics & Stephenson Institute for Renewable Energy (University of Liverpool, United Kingdom) was invited to Tyndall National Institute to perform his research “Nanoscale domain analysis of Pb-free relaxor” with the help of the local staff.

The objective was to understand the sizes and structures of the polar nano-domains, in order to understand the mechanisms yielding the enhanced piezoelectric response the team had observed in its new piezoelectric materials. For this, they needed to use the piezo-response force microscopy (PFM), available through ASCENT+ at Tyndall.

“The ASCENT+ programme gave our research team access to vital tools for developing a comprehensive view of our new piezoelectric materials. This information helped our team understand the structure of the material and therefore the mechanism which underpinned the physical response. With this information we have been able to not only understand the materials, but also target methods for improvement and design of the next generation of Pb-free piezoelectrics”

Manisha Bashal visit to Tyndall
Manisha Bansal (with Dr. Lynette Keeney) during her visit to Tyndall

And this month, another ASCENT+ user visited Tyndall to discover the Atomic Force Microscope. Manisha Bansal, a PhD student from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (Thiruvananthapuram), is conducting research to study vertically aligned nanocomposites. With the guidance and help of Dr. Lynette Keeney (Tyndall), they will investigate the interplay between magnetic and electric properties in Manisha’s nano-structured samples using Tyndall’s specialised scanning probe microscopy under variable magnetic and electric fields.

Discover more success stories!

Previous Issues:
Jul 2023 | Feb 2023 | Sep 2022 | May 2022 | Jan 2022 | Sep 2021 | Jul 2021 | Mar 2021

Jul 2019 / Apr 2019 / Jan 2019 / Oct 2018 / Jul 2018 / Apr 2018 / Jan 2018 / Oct 2017 / Jul 2017 / Apr 2017 / Jan 2017 / Sep 2016 / Jun 2016 / Feb 2016

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreements 871130 and 654384.