News snippets from the world of contamination control.

Compiled by Steve Smith

Static symposium in September

ROME, N.Y.-The Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) Association’s ( annual symposium, to be held September 11-16 at the Marriott in Anaheim, Calif., will include more than 50 technical sessions from international leaders on topics such as on-chip RF, on-chip physics/modeling, system-level ESD, factory and materials, and on-chip CMOS. Interactive workshops will discuss ESD control and design for extremely sensitive devices, automated equipment ESD and grounding issues; ESD auditing; and silicon technology scaling and ESD reliability.

Cleanroom for corrupted copies

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.-Ontrack Data Recovery ( has opened a Canadian facility in Toronto that includes a full-service recovery laboratory and cleanroom to recover lost or corrupted data from virtually all operating systems and types of storage devices. The company’s recovery solutions, using proprietary tools and techniques, include its patented Remote Data Recovery service, in-lab and on-site service, as well as do-it-yourself software.

Boron beam boost

BEVERLY, Mass.-By integrating cluster boron beam current technology on select semiconductor implant platforms, Axcelis Technologies, Inc. ( says its method rivals the productivity of alternative plasma immersion techniques without introducing process issues typically associated with non-mass-analyzed plasma immersions-such as energy and species contamination, poor angle control, and lack of tilt capability. Cluster boron molecules contain 18 boron atoms and are said to deliver the equivalent of an 18x increase in beam current at ultralow energy. The technology is seen as a promising method of extending the viability of low-energy implants, especially for production of advanced ultrashallow junction (USJ) and dual poly-gate (DPG) transistor structures.

Mini-er minimemories

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.-The battle against contamination in ever-shrinking chip packages may get more dicey as competing minitechnologies get off the drawing board and into production. Ramtron International Corp. (, for example, has begun mass production of Ferroelectric Random Access Memory (FRAM)-a nonvolatile memory that reads and writes like a standard SRAM, yet because it is nonvolatile retains data after power has been removed. FRAM, along with other emerging alternatives, such as magnetic tunnel-junction RAM (MRAM), phase-change RAM (PRAM), nanowire and nanotube, and molecular, are all aiming to shrink design rules toward the angstrom (one-tenth of a nanometer) scale.

Bad basil bummer?

ROCKVILLE, Md.-Fresh basil may be the culprit of a recent outbreak of gastrointestinal illnesses in Florida, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA; is conducting a traceback investigation of restaurant foods served from mid-March through mid-April in hopes of locating the source of the contaminated herb. The Florida Department of Health identified 293 laboratory-confirmed cases of cyclosporiasis, which is caused by ingestion of the Cyclospora parasite and results in infection of the small intestine. As a result of the outbreak, the FDA issued a reminder of the importance of properly washing all fresh fruit and vegetables-and herbs-before using.