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Microfabrication with ultraviolet-assisted sol-gel technology


Both major parts of the project (silica waveguides and reduced temperature crystallization of ferroelectrics) have resulted in processes and technologies in line with what was foreseen in the aims of the project.

A novel UV-RTP reactor was designed and produced for processing of sol-gel materials for waveguide and ferroelectric material production. Sol-gel formulations were developed for waveguide production. An OE-MCM module was designed and produced and sol-gel waveguides were integrated into this module. Ferroelectric sol-gel precursors were also developed and used to produce single-phase ferroelectric material at reduced temperature. FPW devices were designed and developed. However, within the time-scale of the project it was not possible to fully integrate the sol-gel material into the FPW demonstrator. Instead, the design demonstrator was fabricated using AlN. This was largely because scheduling of the work within the project deviated from the plan, with the research tasks and workpackages extending longer and in parallel with the demonstrator workpackages. The demonstrators were only finished in the last weeks of the project, and evaluation has been shorter than expected.
Objectives and content
The MUVAST project addresses the industrial need for lowtemperature thin film applications of sol-gel technology
through the design and development of sol-gel materials
optimised for UV densification, and with locally variable
properties and the development of an ultraviolet
densification processing route. The MUVAST technology
will enable the innovation of new generation products
including optical waveguide layers for opto-electronic
interconnect and flexural plane wave sensors, including
specifically a new sensor applicable to oil viscosity
These applications drive a need for thin film deposition
on temperature sensitive substrates such as substrates
having CMOS devices present, polymers, and low-melting
point materials. The lower limit of the process
temperature for film preparation is particularly
important in the advanced semiconductor technologies.
Sol-gel technology is currently being investigated for
possible application in a vast range of commercial
Project Objectives: The main objective of the MUVAST
project is to develop an industrially competitive thin
film deposition technique based on the reduction of the
processing temperature of sol-gel thin films technologies
using novel UV-thermal process equipment designed for
substrates up to 150 mm diameter. This will:
allow the reduction of the densification temperature of
sol-gel thin films (to 250 C, or lower for silica solgel system and 400 C for the ferroelectric sol-gel thin
enable sol-gel technology to be applied on processed
silicon wafers with novel sensor devices
allow photopatterning for waveguiding formation thus
enabling an integrated optics approach to product
reduce existing product costs and broaden potential
product base.
Technical Approach: This project will develop a reduced
densification temperature route for the preparation of
sol-gel thin films for product-driven applications. This
will be achieved through the dedicated technical
workpackages detailed below:
end-user specifications of demonstrators that meet
identified market needs
process development for silica and ferroelectric (both
lead zirconium titanate (PZT) and modified lead titanate
(MPT) will be explored) sol-gel systems and thin films,
production of novel UV-thermal sol-gel densification
process equipment,
reliability and techno-economic evaluation of
demonstrators produced
This will enable sol-gel technology to be employed in a
range of product driven applications including waveguides
in MCMs and novel ferroelectric based sensors.
The consortium is vertically integrated with expertise
contributed from sol-gel developers, industrial end-users
in the optoelectronic, electronic and automotive sectors
and a process equipment manufacturer. The consortium is
made up of 7 partners (France, Germany, Ireland, Spain
and Switzerland) from four member states of which three
are Industrial Companies, three are Research
Organisations and one is a University. This project also
addresses an important impediment to wider scale us of
sol-gel processing i. e. the general lack of effective
interaction between device technologists and sol-gel
practitioners, and will build upon existing European cooperation in sol-gel science and technology.

Call for proposal

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National University of Ireland, Cork
Prospect row
30 Cork

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EU contribution
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Participants (6)