MIT Reports to the President 1997-98


The Microsystems Technology Laboratories (MTL) are organized to provide facilities and a working environment to support undergraduate and graduate education through teaching and research in the area of microsystems technology.

The MTL carries out graduate research activities in the fabrication and study of small (i.e., micron, submicron, and nanometer) structures and their use for the implementation of interesting integrated systems from X-ray lenses to VLSI circuits to micro-gas turbine engines. The expanding and dynamic research program covers solid state devices, integrated circuits and systems, materials for electronic applications, novel process technologies, MicroElectroMechanical Devices, and computer-aided fabrication. The MTL houses three clean room facilities (the Integrated Circuits Laboratory - ICL, the Technology Research Laboratory - TRL, and the NanoStructures Laboratory - NSL), and associated non-clean laboratory space (the Research Group Laboratories - RGL), and the Computational and Communication Network facility. The centerpiece facility of the MTL is the Integrated Circuits Laboratory, a state-of-the-art class-10 clean lab with full capabilities for modern IC fabrication. The lab is operated by a full time technical staff and graduate students. The facilities of the MTL are also utilized for the laboratory component of the undergraduate microelectronics processing course (6.152J). Additionally, project laboratory courses on MEMS are offered utilizing this facility. Approximately 110 students per year are educated through these course offerings.

The Microsystems Technologies Laboratories (MTL) has embarked upon a major capital/facilities conversion during 1997/1998 with a capital/facilitization budget of approximately $12M. This conversion is industrially and institutionally supported. The focus of the upgrade is to replace aging 100mm diameter silicon wafer processing technology with 150mm diameter silicon wafer processing technology. The conversion plan upgrades the facilities of the MTL to a level comparable with the industrial state-of-the-art, but is structured such that we maintain the same CORE technologies as at present. The upgrade plan places us in the position to integrate new or emerging technologies as they become available, and enhances our ability to perform research at the industrial state-of-the-art. As in the past, we plan that new and emerging technologies will be added to the MTL tool set as a result of specific contract needs, and will be funded through the specific support of sponsored research programs, or through industrial donation. This upgrade will ensure that MIT faculty can continue to attract and to perform research at the leading edge of technology, and that we can continue to attract faculty, students, and sponsored research programs of the highest caliber.

As part of the upgrade plan, MTL received several major equipment donations this year: Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) donated both a 6î-compatible Matrix asher and a LAM Rainbow metal etcher. The former is installed and functioning in ICL where it replaced our old Drytek asher, which was decommissioned. Users appreciate the Matrix's fast through-put and ease of operation. The installation in ICL of the LAM Rainbow metal etcher is on hold pending the full 6" conversion, because the machine is not 4"-compatible and it requires space to be made available later in the year. Applied Materials donated an Endura Metal Deposition cluster tool. It is 6"-ready, but capable of processing 4" wafers. We are in the process of facilitizing its installation in ICL, with support from the Offices of the Provost and the Dean of Engineering. This tool will satisfy our post-conversion metal deposition needs. Motorola and Applied Materials jointly donated a Centura high-density plasma etch system. It will be upgraded to 6" from its current 5" configuration and installed in ICL. This tool complements our present etch capabilities. Several research groups have already expressed interest in using this machine, and doing collaborative work with the donors.

With a $500,000 equipment grant from Intel obtained in 1997, MTL purchased state-of-the-art metrology equipment from KLA-Tencor-Prometrix: a P10 profilometer, an SM-300 film thickness measurement system to be used to characterize the CMP processes and a UV-1280 spectroscopic ellipsometer. All are installed and operating in ICL. The Dektak and Nanospec they replaced were moved up to TRL, to extend its metrology toolset. This additional characterization capability will further MTL's educational mission by allowing users to examine in greater detail the results of their processes. It also contributes to our remote metrology program since these machines have been networked so students can view their data outside the lab and even use it their coursework. In addition, Semitest, Inc, made available, on a permanent loan basis, a Surface Charge Analyzer. It is installed in the diffusion area and has been used extensively to characterize dielectric thin films. Among the research-driven equipment acquisitions were an STS deep-trench Si etcher and an Electronic Visions wafer aligner/bonder. They are installed in TRL and being extensively used by the MEMS group as well as many other users.

This upgrade plan positions MTL and MIT to take a leadership role in university microelectronics and microfabrication research activities, and will ensure that MIT can continue to provide world class educational and research experiences in the areas of microelectronics and microfabrication well into the next millennium.

Personnel involved in ongoing research activities at the MTL include over 50 Faculty, 16 Senior Research Staff, 260 Graduate Students, 120 Undergraduate Students, 17 Post-doctoral Fellows, 16 Visiting Scientists, 28 Research Affiliates, 26 Technical Support Staff, and 15 Administrative and Support Staff. These faculty, students and staff represent affiliations including the Departments of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Civil Engineering, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Materials Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Physics; the Center for Materials Science and Engineering, the Center for Space Research, the Gas Turbine Laboratory, the Laboratory for Electromagnetic and Electronic Systems, the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems, the Laboratory for Computer Science, the Research Laboratory of Electronics, the Sloan School, the Turbulence Research Laboratory, the Media Laboratory and the Center for Biomedical Engineering. The facilities of the MTL are also open to external users under the Outreach Program (government and academia), and through several industrial programs. Current external users of the MTL include Analog Devices, Digital Semiconductor, Motorola Corp., Hewlett-Packard, Polaroid Corporation, Hitachi, Sharp Corporation, Sony Corporation, Institute for Advanced Engineering, Boston University, Case Western Reserve University, Harvard University, Kanazawa University, Northeastern University, Princeton University, the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, Tufts University, the Shriners Burn Institute, University of Utah, Princeton University, the University of Utah, and the University of Tokyo. During the 1996-1997 academic year, 16 Ph.D., 20 S. M. and 11 M. Eng. degrees were awarded in conjunction with research activities whose primary area of focus was microfabrication and which were strongly coupled to the facilities of the MTL. MTL has continued to serve the microfabrication needs of the MIT community, working on projects from many departments (e.g., Biology, Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Physics). As a result, this year saw a substantial increase in lab activity as evidenced the number of students using the labs, as well as the amount of processing.

Research in the MTL may be grouped into three major interdisciplinary, interactive research themes: Microsystems, Nanoscale Technology/Devices, and Manufacturing, and further divided into the following ten categories:

The MTL facilities are supported in part by members of the MIT Microsystems Industrial Group (MIG), whose current members include: Advanced Micro Devices (AMD); Analog Devices, Inc.; Applied Materials, Inc.; Digital Semiconductor; Ford Microelectronics, Inc.; Hewlett-Packard Company; IBM; Intel Corporation; Lucent Technologies; Motorola, Inc.; Novellus Systems, Inc.; Texas Instruments; and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation (TSMC), as well as members of the Microsystems Affiliates Program whose members are Kokusai/BTI Corporation and Sony Corporation.

Outreach activities carried out by the MTL include a weekly VLSI Seminar Series and an MTL Memo Series. The MTL also publishes a comprehensive Annual Report.

More information about the Microsystems Technology Laboratories can be found on the World Wide Web at the following URL:

Rafael Reif

MIT Reports to the President 1997-98