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< Contents ERCIM News No. 53, April 2003

VTT inaugurated Microelectronics and Nanotechnology Centre 'Micronova'

by Pia-Maria Linden-Linna

Micronova is a joint project of the VTT and the Helsinki University of Technology (HUT), The nationally unique and internationally competitive research cluster will focus on microelectronics and nanotechnology research and innovative activities based thereon. The specially designed clean room facilities that are required in research are the largest and most highly rated in Scandinavia, and among the five largest in Europe.

MICRONOVA, was officially inaugurated on 4 March 2003 in Espoo Finland. Distinguished speakers at the ceremony were Erkki K.M. Leppävuori, Director General of VTT, Paavo Uronen, Rector HUT, David L. Tennenhouse, Vice President Intel Corporation, Juhani Kalanti, Director STMicroelectronics and Asko Vehanen, Executive Vice President, Okmetic Oyj.

Micronova is by far the largest research centre in the area of microelectronics, solid logic technology and sensor technology in Finland, which even at present has a clientele covering the whole country. The centre enables improved connections between basic research and applied industrial research and product development. VTT also has a highly rated research unit with clean room facilities in Oulu, the north of Finland.

Micronova clean room facilities.
Micronova clean room facilities.

The rapid development of microelectronics has for a long time maintained the growth rate of the electronics industry at double that of industry as a whole. The aim for smaller, faster, cheaper and less energy consuming equipment increases the significance of research in the area.

"The development of solid logic technology and materials will continue into the foreseeable future. This development is the foundation, on which the force that changes the IT world is built. The development trend is stable; fluctuations in economic market conditions only have a marginal effect after all. Microelec-tronics is becoming an integration platform for various technologies. It is no longer purely electronic development; instead, the functions of microsystems built on solid logic chips are activated by not only electronic and magnetic impulses, but also mechanical, chemical and biological impulses. Several companies find business opportunities from this technological platform", emphasised VTT Information Technology's Executive Director Pekka Silvennoinen.

"Information technology and electronics will continue to be a growing branch of industry, even though the economic outlook has decreased considerably since the construction decision was made. The demand for electronics research grew throughout the 1990s despite the recession", said VTT's Manager of Enabling technologies Ilkka Suni.

Micronova also has potential on the global market, where IT is growing more rapidly than in Finland. The units located in the centre have a broad international co-operation network.

Micronova emphasises the utilisation of new technology. The centre functions as a microelectronics business park for companies that require a high quality product development environment, offering the use of Micronova's facilities, research equipment and expertise. The model of operations offers companies a cost-efficient opportunity to utilise large public investments.

Three research areas of VTT Information Technology, units of various HUT departments and five client companies are represented in Micronova. Micronova provides facilities for a total of approximately 320 people.

Including production equipment, the Micronova complex represents an investment of almost • 100 million. The construction investment for the now completed expansion phase was • 33.6 million, and the total investment for both phases (1997/2002) was • 50 million. The net area of the new expansion is 10,689 square metres. Micronova's total net area is approximately 15,000 square metres, of which 2,600 square metres is high quality clean room.

Please contact:
Pia-Maria Lindén-Linna
VTT Information Technology
Tel: +358 9 456 4501