Sunday, May 06, 2007

Tim May's 1991 whitepaper on Parallel Nanoprobe Lithography

In the early 90's, in the course of participating in the Palo Alto Nanotechnology Working Group, Tim May wrote an interesting whitepaper hypothesizing what scanned nanoprobes might offer in advanced potentially inexpensive high rate lithography. It was a very interesting series of ideas that predated much of the more formal IP generation in parallel nanoprobes, esp. from universities.

Tim is a brilliant scientist, and in the early days of DRAMS at Intel, had discovered the alpha particle effect causing RAM memory bit loss was from trace radioactive materials in some ceramic IC packages. He was an Intel R&D scientist and often had avant garde innovative ideas. There is some story of some lead bricks under a famous Intel executive's house that were used in Tim's experiment to verify that cosmic rays were not at root cause of the memory errors.

For some interesting perspective on the future foretold by Tim, as yet unrealized, I am posting his paper - scanned, to the web, with his full permission and credit to him.

I thought and continue to think that Tim May is far more creative than often given credit for. Brilliant, sometimes cuttingly sarcastic like some fraction of great scientists are(esp if in contact with similar Hungarians??!!), and a very witty guy.

I even remember his efforts in describing how AI techniques might be used to benefit wafer fab process diagnosis and control, by rule based analysis of electrical test data and in-process wafer fab metrology results, far predating others efforts much later...

After I received this hardcopy, I later joined Digital Instruments, and a few years into my stay at DI, when Minne began talking to Virgil Elings of the Quate group's later research into parallel nanoprobes, I gave a copy of this to Virgil, who in his usual effervescent manner, was slightly bemused.

Here are scanned images (with watermarks) of Tim May's brilliant whitepaper on Parallel Nanoprobe Lithography from around 1991 or earlier. (undoubtedly Tim will correct me later with a more accurate date and other details).

This posting is a series of 14 clickable high resolution images, reduced in size on the web page for faster page loading, but each will render in high resolution if you click on the smaller images. Or right click on each, to directly download in windows the high res images.

This does beg several unspoken questions re the IP filings on parallel nanprobes later by several other groups who may have read of, or listened to Tim's pathfinding ideas in the very early 90's, at the Palo Alto Nanotechnology Working Group, or same through the net.

Here are the page images of Tim May's brilliant whitepaper on Parallel Nanoprobe Lithography.

And yes, I used to kibutz with him over his name for the "pizza crawler" as he wittily called it....We had a few yuk yuks over it..


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