NanoNed, the Dutch nanotechnology push
Nanotechnology is the technology of the future. The ability to mass produce devices on a nanometre scale will yield total new materials and breakthroughs in for example battery lifetime, computer performance and healthcare. As a part of the Dutch national network on nanotechnology, TNO leads a flagships of the NanoNed programme and hosts the national NanoLab Nanoengineering Laboratories.
NanoNed, the Nanotechnology R&D initiative in the Netherlands, is initiated by nine industrial and scientific partners including Philips and TNO. It clusters the Dutch expertise on nanotechnology and enabling technology into a national network. The total budget of the NanoNed program amounts to 235 million euro, funded by the Dutch Ministry for Economic Affairs. The NanoNed program is organized into eleven independent programs or flagships. Each of those is based on regional R&D strength and industrial relevance. The flagship nanoinstrumentation is aimed to develop scientific and industrial equipment that can work with nanometer precision. TNO is leading this flagship, working with the Delft University of Technology (and others) on instrumentation for nanotechnology and research. Logically, TNO also hosts the NanoLab NL, an 85 million euro investment in state-of-the-art nanotechnology infrastructure. NanoLab NL is intended for the NanoNed network and accessible to all Dutch researchers
Smaller than 20 nanometer
The challenge for the flagship Nanoinstrumentation is to help solve the instrumentation problems that limit the production of sub-20 nm devices.
TNO focuses on three subjects:
- Sub-20 nm pattern generation
Patterning with (deep) UV is the accepted method for mass production of nanostructures down to 100 nm or even less. TNO is pushing optical methods and charged particle technology to less than 20 nm.
- High-end metrology
To enable production metrology on sub-20 nm scale is needed. TNO is improving system stability, isolation and mechanical precision of metrology instruments for extreme environments like Ultra High Vacuum and extreme low temperatures. They will enable superior sensor calibration and precision mechanics.
- Contamination control
In nanotechnology, requirements for the control of particulate contamination are very strict. For Contamination Control, TNO develops technologies that enable researchers to analyze the cause of particulate contamination and to detect, classify and remove it.