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III-V fabrication heads to the Middle East

New Saudi and Turkish institutions are gearing up with high-end kit, including MOCVD systems, for III-V device development and processing.

Compound semiconductor research looks set to receive a boost in the unlikely Middle Eastern locations of Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), located in Jeddah and backed to the tune of $10 billion by the Arab state s leading crude oil producer Aramco, is investing heavily in semiconductor equipment.

KAUST is still under construction, and due to open in time for the new academic year on September 5, 2009.

Meanwhile, cleanrooms at Turkey s $120 million Institute of Materials Science and Nanotechnology (UNAM), located at Bilkent University in Ankara, are scheduled to be “fully functional” by June.

Tony Eastham, director of laboratories at KAUST, told compoundsemiconductor.net that among the many areas of cutting-edge research under investigation at the new institution s Advanced NanoFabrication Center will be “nanoelectronics, photonics, LEDs and functional materials”.

“We are establishing leading-edge facilities,” Eastham added.

Already set up with Class 1000 and Class 100 cleanroom capability, and instrumentation including nanoimprint lithography and an electron-beam writer, KAUST last week ordered more high-end equipment from Oxford Instruments Plasma Technology (OIPT).

OIPT says that the order comprised “multiple plasma etch, deposition & growth systems”, including several reactive-ion-etch PlasmaLab systems, PECVD equipment, and a FlexAL tool for atomic layer deposition (ALD).

Eastham confirmed with laboratory manager Xixiang Zhang that MOCVD equipment is also set to be installed, although there are no current plans to purchase an MBE system.

At UNAM in Turkey, researcher Necmi Biyikli confirmed that two inductively coupled plasma (ICP) etch tools from Surface Technology Systems (STS) were on order.

Biyikli told compoundsemiconductor.net that one of the tools would use chlorine-based process gases to etch III-V materials, with the second using fluorine for work on silicon.

“Combining the STS tools with other deposition/etching systems, as well as e-beam lithography, nano-imprint lithography and focused ion beam systems, we will have the ability to fabricate novel, proof-of-concept nano-scale devices,” Biyikli added.

UNAM s 400 m2 cleanroom is part of the first such national user facility for III-V work in Turkey.

Users will have access to a range of epitaxy equipment, including MOCVD, MBE and low-pressure CVD tools, as well as the latest STS kit, which Biyikli says will be one of the “workhorses” of the UNAM cleanroom.

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