Production-scale nanocharacterization of graphene within reach

European project “Real time nano CHAracterization reLatEd techNoloGiES” (CHALLENGES) aims to adapt nanoscale metrology for the manufacturing industry, scaling up high resolution imaging for CMOS electronics, silicon photovoltaics, and 2D materials.

The project, having kicked off with an online meeting on April 23rd, started April 1st and will last for three years under the “Research and innovation actions” (RIA) programme. With a total budget of nearly 4.7 million EUR, the project is run by a consortium of 14 partners from 7 countries.

CHALLENGES is coordinated by a large silicon foundry company and it is strongly driven by industrial and applicative needs. The Consortium includes renowned EU research labs with top-class facilities and capacities, industry leading enterprises and innovative SMEs with a worldwide collaboration network that will boost the international dimension and impact of the project.

The overarching goal is to apply unconventional plasmonic materials in unconventional spectrum ranges, coupled with tip-enhanced local probing spectroscopy, to develop a revolutionary spectroscopic system for real time nanotechnology characterization compatible with semiconductor production. The end goal is a fully automated AFM-based tool not requiring human intervention in routine operations. The solution will lean on current advances in machine learning for automatic detection of relevant sites on large samples to be probed with high resolution.

The large number of SME’s involved in the project will benefit from the development milestones such as novel plasmonic tips, machine learning algorithms optimized for imaging, cleanroom-ready AFM system, industrial in-line quality control methods for production lines of graphene, CIS, nanowires, epitaxial silicon, TMD wafers, and thin silicon solar cells and modules.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 861857.