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ASML partners on €100 million lithography research center

04 Jun 2013

Institute in Amsterdam will explore both fundamental and applied research.

ASML is planning to set up a new research institute dedicated to nanolithography in Amsterdam, to which it will contribute around €30 million over the next decade.

The Netherlands-based company, which has just completed its acquisition of light-source supplier Cymer, will partner with the Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM), the University of Amsterdam (UvA), the VU University Amsterdam and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) to establish the Institute for Nanolithography (INL).

It will conduct fundamental and applied research towards future semiconductor chip manufacture, once contract negotiations between the various partners are completed.

Initially, INL is set to focus on the physical and chemical processes that are seen as critical to extending extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography – the first generation of which is just about moving into chip production facilities.

ASML expects to provide more than one-third of the institute’s annual budget, with FOM and NWO contributing €25 million over the next decade and UvA/VU contributing €12.5 million.

On top of that, the city of Amsterdam has committed €5 million in start-up funding, while another €25 million should arise from various other funding instruments – bringing likely total funding to around €100 million over ten years.

Amsterdam location
ASML says that INL will be launched in the third quarter of 2013, under the management of AMOLF, one of the three institutes that makes up FOM. By 2015, the new center is set to become an independent institute managed by FOM in collaboration with UvA and VU, and should employ about a hundred scientists and staff.

INL will be based at the Science Park Amsterdam, which is home to some 80 high-tech companies in the fields of information and communications technology (ICT) and biotechnology, as well as national research institutes.

One company in the photonics field based at the science park is Lighthouse, which produces laser systems for non-destructive drug analysis.

Martin van den Brink, ASML’s ‘chief product and technology officer’, said of the company’s thinking behind setting up the new institute: “Beyond our existing cooperation with universities and research institutes, ASML sees a need for long-term, fundamental research in nanolithography, which focuses not on making a concrete product, but on exploring technology options.”

“This institute, with its broad research agenda, will expand the nanolithography knowledge network, contributing to innovation in the semiconductor industry,” he added.

“The cooperation between entrepreneurs and researchers is crucial to stay at the top,” commented Henk Kamp, Economic Affairs Minister of the Netherlands. “With this institute, ASML can take on the growing competition and further strengthen its global market position.”

Jos Engelen, chairman of the Governing Board of NWO, said: "This initiative complies with the ambition of NWO to engage in more longer-term public-private partnerships and to encourage private industry to increase its contribution to the funding of scientific research in our country. We are proud that ASML has sought this partnership with FOM/NWO."

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