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IRT Nanoelec

The ILL has firmly established itself as a pioneer in neutron science and technology. Neutron beams are used to carry out frontier research in diverse fields.

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IRT Nanoelec

The IRT Nanoelec project

The "Institut de Recherche Technologique (IRT) NanoElectronique" project is one of the six national projects selected by the French government for funding within the IRT programme in the Grand Emprunt scheme. ESRF and ILL’s characterisation Technology Platform is a beneficiary of this funding. 


The Grenoble large-scale instruments potentially offer unrivalled performance to achieve advanced micro-nanoelectronics characterization. However, access to these research infrastructures is adapted to the world of academic research and is generally, apart from several exceptions such as structural biology for drug discovery, not yet optimally aligned to the needs of industrial R&D.
Industrial needs are reflected by rapid access, confidentiality, a strong scientific support from experiment feasibility to running the experiment and data analysis. Important factors for the use of large instruments for industrial innovation and R&D is the prior but basic awareness of the power and limits of the infrastructure techniques (for example diffraction, scattering, imaging, and spectroscopy; all potentially under in situ or under operando conditions), adapted sample preparation methods, and more generally in a precise definition of the relevant experiment or measurement required to meet the industrial technical question.

The objective of the Characterization Program is to allow to technological research in micronanoelectronics to have an enhanced access to the ultimate characterization permitted by the large-scale instruments of Grenoble.
The program focuses on the following three points: Define processes for preparation and characterization of a series of real cases with the industrial and technological partners of the IRT Nanoelec. Establish the technical means for sample preparation and conduct the work of development and validation of actual pilot cases identified with the partners. And, finally, offer dissemination, awareness and training.

During the 1st period of the IRT (2012-2014), the program team has prepared the infrastructure and started to establish links between the different academic and industrial partners. The next period 2015-2017 will see the increase of the quantity of studies carried out in collaboration with industrial partners’ members of the IRT, and of services for industrial customers.

Main 2015 results

2015 was an exceptional and decisive year for the characterization program with the design and start, in a record time, of two major instruments and a preparation laboratory dedicated to industrial applications. The Platform for Advanced Characterization – GRENOBLE (PAC- G), became so a full reality.

D50, a powerful neutron reflectometer, coupled with an advanced X-ray diffraction instrument, constitutes a unique set of tools ideal for the study of micro / nanoelectronics interfaces and for neutron irradiation tests. This instrument is using a new way to select wavelength via a neutron prims (RAINBOWS concept), providing an efficiency gains of an order of magnitude compared to state of the art n-reflectometer. It will enable to characterize layers, heterostructures and interfaces of interest for the micro and nanoelectronics.The adaptable design of D50 also allows the characterization of high-reliability electronic components, and in the near future will provide non-destructive, high-resolution 3D images to optimize interconnections and component packaging.


At the ESRF the BM05 synchrotron beamline optimized for massive sample tests (diffraction, reflectometry, topography) and additional resources implemented on several beamlines perfectly complete this offer dedicated to industrial applications. On BM05 synchrotron line, a 6 axis diffractometer has been installed. It enables diffraction and reflectivity measurements in transmission and reflection at energy from 6keV to 60 keV. Moreover, it allows
x-ray diffraction imaging (topography) characterization, and is planned to be part of a parallel beam micro-tomography setup. One of the specificity of this instrument is to be able to perform in plane measurements, as well as out of plane

The first industrial clients have benefited from these services at the end of 2015 and 2016 promises to see an important growth in industrial utilization of PAC-G, bringing to fruition the aim of the program: to build a bridge between the means and expertise available at CEA / PFNC, ESRF and ILL and French and European industry thus generating innovation and economic growth in this sector.
Among the technical results obtained in the program, one can highlight first the characterization of 3D connections (Copper pillars, direct bondings) using imaging and diffraction techniques operated with a very high lateral resolution, using x-ray nanoprobes and second the understanding of interfaces and especially the determination of the causes producing the delamination of layers on microelectronic advanced structures.