Electronic Design

From The Labs

Karl Suss America Inc. has agreed with Motorola Labs to offer a proprietary mask projection technology (MPT) to its worldwide client base. The patent-pending contact-printing technology will, according to the company, significantly increase device yields thanks to an extreme reduction in particle contamination for hard and vacuum contact lithography. MPT allows a large number of contacts between the mask and the wafer without the normal mask wear or damage. Vacuum contacts made with MPT at 0.75-µm resolution show no significant degradation after 20 wafers are processed. For solder bumping where feature sizes are 50 to 100 µm and proximity gaps of the same size are typical, MPT will not improve yields, as mask and wafer do not risk contact. But in gold bumping, where gaps are sometimes reduced to 30 µm to pattern 10-µm features, MPT should help maintain the high process yield known from larger gaps.

Demolition can be pretty dangerous, especially when the target contains radioactive and toxic materials. So, the Department of Energy's Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL) developed the BROKK BM 250. This hydroelectric-powered demolition robot can be operated via remote control from 400-ft.. Operators manipulate the robot, which is about the size of a compact car, via a real-time video system that ties into the existing remote-control system. The Compact Remote Operator Console serves as a data link for the electronic hardware that controls the four video cameras, camera controllers, viewing monitors, and remote controller.

Engineers are invited to use the IBM RS/6000 SP POWER3 (P3) system at the Maui High Performance Computing Center (MHPCC). Ranked 72nd on the Top 500 Supercomputing Sites list, it's the second most powerful IBM SP in the Department of Defense's High Performance Computing Modernization Program. The P3 nodes, featuring IBM's Symmetric Multiprocessing (SMP) technology, are deployed in MHPCC's Tempest and Squall IBM SP systems. Tempest has 46 four-processor P3 nodes, providing a robust environment for large-scale, computationally demanding parallel applications. Squall is composed of a quartet of four-processor P3 nodes and 32 IBM SP POWER2 Super Chip (P2SC) nodes, providing a parallel application development platform. MHPCC hopes to couple the systems to provide a computational resource with a 427-processor total and a peak computational capability of approximately 300 Gflops.

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