October 15, 2007
By: by Alexander E. Braun, Senior Editor, Semiconductor International
Alain Diebold, a Sematech Senior Fellow who has spent 18 years with the organization, has joined the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) of the University at Albany. Globally recognized as an expert in metrology technology for nanoelectronics, Diebold now occupies the position of Empire Innovation Professor of Nanoscale Science and Executive Director of CNSE's Nanoscale Metrology and Imaging Center.
The center is a multimillion dollar comprehensive atomic-scale characterization and analysis laboratory that supports the development of technologies and devices for nanoelectronics, optoelectronics, sensors and other applications that require powerful thin-film and material analytical techniques. It also provides characterization expertise to assist colleges, universities and high-tech companies around the world in their R&D development efforts.
Diebold's research covers the impact of nanoscale dimensions on both materials properties and measurement physics. He is the founder of the Analytical Laboratory Managers Council for International Sematech, and founded and co-chaired the group that wrote the first Metrology Roadmap for what is now the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS). He will continue his work in industry coordination for metrology through leadership of the ITRS' Metrology Roadmap team and by hosting metrology conferences and forums at CNSE.
"The new Center for Nanoscale Metrology will develop both fundamental and practical metrology, especially for areas of nanoelectronics," Diebold said. "It will also work in other areas of nanotech, depending on faculty interest and needs of the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering."
Optical physics will be a principal research focus pursued by Diebold. "I plan to study both linear and non-linear optics for the characterization of materials and device structures," he said. "The idea is to enable the development of much-needed metrology for accelerating new devices and structures, as well as for characterizing the materials that will be used in these new devices and structures. Whenever possible, this will also involve study of the new devices and structures themselves."
Films are first in the research agenda for the new lab. "I want to look at thin metal films and thin silicon germanium films and research quantum size effects," Diebold said. "In the case of metal films - not only single-crystal but also polycrystalline metal films - to try to understand how to carry out the measurement of very thin polycrystalline metal films, which is often a challenge."