A consortium including the University of Luxembourg has been awarded a prestigious PathFinder Open grant of the European Innovation Council (EIC) that supports innovative and disruptive technologies with high impact.
The grant goes to a research project called “REusable MAsk Patterning” (REMAP) which aims to establish a paradigm shift in the field of microfabrication, a process used to fabricate components at nanometres to micrometres scales that are essential to our daily life, such as microprocessors, sensors and flat panel displays.
The consortium behind REMAP is composed of the University of Genova, the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) of France, the International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory, the National Centre for Scientific Research "Demokritos" of Greece, Solvionic S.A., a company producing specialised chemical products, RINA, a certifying company, and the University of Luxembourg.
This is the first grant of the European Innovation Council (EIC) awarded to a researcher in Luxembourg: Professor Phillip Dale, Full Professor in Physics at the University’s Faculty of Science, Technology and Medicine.
Common methods of microfabrication involving projection lithography and vacuum deposition generate massive amounts of waste due to single-use stencils when creating the layers of patterned structures on a substrate such as an integrated circuit, and require vast amounts of water and energy. Currently, 1 m² of microchips requires 234,000 L of water and 15,000 kWh of energy. REMAP aims to develop re-usable stencils and a low energy deposition method to greatly reduce the environmental impact of microfabrication, with a special fluid comprising magnetic nanoparticles.
“The University of Luxembourg has two main roles in REMAP”, said Prof. Philip Dale, Head of the Laboratory for Energy Materials at the University of Luxembourg. “The first is to prototype a device to measure the efficacy of the new stencilling technique, and secondly to apply the REMAP concept to fabricate micro-concentrator photovoltaics which are a special type of solar cell designed to have improved performance over conventional ones.”
“REMAP is another example of excellent research on fundamental problems yielding innovations with a considerable economic potential”, said Prof. Jean-Marc Schlenker, Dean of the Faculty of Science, Technology and Medicine. “We expect that EIC grants will turn the scientific strengths of the Faculty into impactful applications.”
“Through world-class research, the University of Luxembourg continues to be a driving force in pushing the limits of innovation to create a digital future that is sustainable”, said Prof. Jens Kreisel, Vice-Rector for Research. “REMAP’s four years project, investing nearly four million euro, has the potential to demonstrate a game changing technology grounded in years of scientific research.”