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VTT spinoff to chip away at semiconductor challenges

The PillarHall test chip can be used to measure the ability of a thin-film process to coat a 3D object evenly.VTT

Chipmetrics, a spinoff from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, is expected to open new opportunities in the development of semiconductors, memory circuits and smart devices by launching to market a test chip for analysing 3D thin-film structures.

The PillarHall test chip promises to solve a multitude of equipment, measurement and testing-related challenges faced by semiconductor manufacturers utilising 3D integration and manufacturing to improve the performance and energy efficiency of transistors and memory circuits.

The disposable test chip enables the production of smaller nanostructures and components and, crucially for the proliferation of artificial intelligence, is suitable for the fast, reliable and cost-effective comparison of manufacturing processes for thin-film structures.

“The method is exceptional, as typically measurements have been made directly from the processed wafers using demanding and expensive measuring devices. The test chip can be used to accelerate the process development and also monitor production in the future,” saidMikko Utriainen, the founder of Chipmetrics.

“Its unique business model and product, market, demand, customer feedback, sales channels and scalability are all very promising.”

VTT has developed the test chip in various research projects since 2013. Image: Chipmetrics

Tauno Vähä-Heikkilä, the vice president of microelectronics at VTT, said the research centre has patented and developed manufacturing methods for producing the test chips.

“This provides a good technological basis for the growth of Chipmetrics,” he predicted.

VTT has developed the test chip in various research projects since 2013, leaning on its expertise in micro-electromechanical systems manufacturing and the atomic-layer deposition expertise available in Finland. The development has taken place at Micronova, a collaborative research and production environment consisting of some 20 companies in addition to VTT and Aalto University.

Published on 30.11.2020