2D Experimental Pilot Line (2D-EPL), a four-year project funded by the European Commission with 20 million euros, has set itself the task of closing the gap between laboratory-scale manufacturing and large-scale production of electronic components based on two-dimensional (2D) materials. With the first experimental production facility of its kind, in which European companies, research centres and academic institutions work together, new types of components can be manufactured on the basis of 2D materials on a pilot scale.
The aim of the project is to demonstrate how to manufacture and scale components based on 2D materials in a way that is effective for market applications. This is a crucial step before graphene technologies can be transferred to large-scale manufacturing.
The project consortium is composed of the renowned European players covering the entire value chain, including tool manufacturers, chemical and material suppliers and semiconductor manufacturing lines: Aixtron Ltd and Oxford Instruments (UK), imec (Belgium), AMO GmbH, Leibniz Institute for high performance microelectronics (IHP), Micro Resist Technology GmbH, Aixtron SA and Suss Microtech (Germany), Graphenea (Spain) and VTT (Finland).
"Two-dimensional materials have unique properties for electronic and photonic devices as well as for sensors," says Cedric Huyghebaert, programme manager for the integration of test materials and modules at imec and technical director of the 2D EPL project. "There are now numerous publications that show prototypes of components based on 2D materials, whose performance is well above the state of the art. But in order to bring these devices to market, we need to develop tool sets and design manuals for their manufacture that are compatible with the standards of the semiconductor industry."
The pilot line will make it possible to prototype new components for electronic, photonic and sensor applications in a representative environment for production. The process flow is carried out in ultra-modern clean room environments throughout Europe at imec (Belgium), VTT (Finland) AMO and the IHP (Germany).
"As the integration of graphene devices still lack the stability and compatibility with Si-technology processes, the developments of graphene in 200mm scale in the CMOS pilot line of IHP is important aspect towards the establishment of the technology platform that enables the fabrication of various graphene based devices“, says Dr. Mindaugas Lukosius from IHP.
To support the development of a European 2D materials ecosystem covering the entire value chain, the 2D-EPL will be open to the entire R&D community working in the field of 2D materials, using a cost-sharing model between users and service providers. The aim is to become a sustainable on-demand service for research and innovation actors in Europe and abroad, integrated into the framework of EUROPRACTICE.
The 2D-EPL project is funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 952792.