Periodic Reporting for period 2 - NanoStreeM (NANOmaterials: STRategies for Safety Assessments in advanced Integrated Circuits Manufacturing)
Reporting period: 2017-07-01 to 2018-12-31
(i) build inventories of materials and research directions, relevant for nanomaterial use and exposure in nano-electronics manufacturing;
(ii) identify gaps in knowledge and methodologies to assess the risk of engineered or accidentally produced nanomaterials and
(iii) to inform stakeholders in order to support decision making and governance of the risks related to the use of nanomaterials and nanoforms in the semiconductor fabrication process.
The NanoStreeM consortium combines unique expertise throughout the research and development chain: from the academic labs via technology development through semiconductor application side. The companies represented in the consortium have some of the largest fabrication facilities in Europe and are globally representative. The consortium included leading centra of semiconductor research and academic institutions.
A large list of materials explored in semiconductor R&D pipeline has been also identified. By performing a thorough literature review, the consortium has identified some guiding principles in technological development for future technology nodes. ENMs are directly handled during the phase of lab-scale research where structures are produced in a bottom-up manner. This can pose occupational but not consumer or environmental risks. As the technology matures, the yield requirements lead to automation of wafer placement and thus direct handling of ENM is avoided. At this stage, free ENM may be present during some processing stages, but the consumer is not exposed during the intended use of the finished product. Finally, mature technologies for ultra-large-scale integration because of performance and yield requirements, lead to the deployment of nanopatterning approaches, compatible with the present planar technologies. That is, nanostructures are patterned in a top-down manner, which avoids direct exposure to the ENM and thus minimizes both occupational and consumer exposure. Therefore, top-down fabrication of nano-functionalized materials and devices is unlikely to add unanticipated hazards only because of the use of nanomaterials.
In a different task, tools for monitoring of occupational exposure, which are compatible with semiconductor clean rooms have been identified. Available guidelines and standards for exposure measurement have been compared and gaps in knowledge identified. It was established that monitoring of airborne nanoparticles is facilitated by the low emission backgrounds in the clean rooms and is attainable by some of the available instruments. On the other hand, measurements in clean rooms difficult to compare across sites. Therefore, the adoption of a harmonized measurement protocol is recommended in order to enable future standardization efforts. The consortium also recommends a detailed investigation of the composition of ENMs released in wastewater flows.
• Tier 0: Use of risk banding approaches to categorize risk: the ISO Standard ISO/TS 12901-2:2014 or StoffenManager Nano.
• Tier 1: Use of (semi) quantitative tools to give exposure estimated: NanoSafer, Consexpo, and ART
• Tier 2: Use of detailed emission measurement data to check the conclusions of Tier 1.
Finally, definite needs for competences development were established in terms of informing about the physicochemical properties of nanomaterials, a dedicated nanotoxicology knowledge base, and about the limitations of the traditional occupational chemical risk assessment. To meet these needs, the project composed three nanosafety training packages, as one of its major outcomes:
• An induction training package for technical personnel - first-time users nanomaterials with no prior experience.
• A training package for safety professionals to aid in their formative education concerning the properties of nanomaterials and available risk assessment methodologies.
• “Train the trainer” guideline for deployment of the training.
Developed training packages will be used by the semiconductor industry and the partnering institutions after the end of the project.
Project results were disseminated on a number of technical and policy-making fora. Notably, NanoStreeM organized three dedicated workshops. The workshop ""Nanomaterial Risk Assessments and communication of their findings” presented the training strategy towards the internal stakeholder communities: researchers, technicians, trade unions and management. The workshop “Governance of emerging nano-risk in semiconductor industry” was co-organized with the caLIBRAte project. It was geared towards the external stakeholders from the public authorities and the European institutions. The emphasis was on the generic approaches in the risk assessment and governance, which can be employed also by other industries having rapid technological turnover and innovation. The workshop “Novel materials and nano-risk in semiconductor industry” presented the findings of work package 1. Public findings are also disseminated using YouTube and LinkedIn channels.