PAC-G provides a range of services, from consultancy work to executing sample characterisation experiments and analysing data. We provide access to large-scale facilities, such as synchrotron and neutron sources, and offer a cost-effective and rapid service tailored to the micro- and nano-electronics industry. Through us, industry can access cutting-edge characterisation tools without going through proposal or selection processes. We also offer access to some of the world's most knowledgeable experts in the field of material characterisation.
Our services have applications in R&D, the various stages of product development, failure analysis and process optimisation. Some of the main areas that we specialise in are shown below. Please visit our dedicated applications and techniques page for more information.
PAC-G is a dedicated gateway giving the micro- and nano-electronics industry quick and easy access to some of the world's most advanced characterisation facilities. We are unique, offering a single, unified access point to large-scale facilities such as synchrotron- and neutron-based sources. This gives us an extremely broad portfolio of individual characterisation techniques, complementary in nature, that we can offer our clients. PAC-G is part of the Technological Research Institute, Nanoelec (Programme d'Investissements d'Avenir, IRT Nanoelec under grant ANR-10-AIRT-05). Please visit the Nanoelec website for more information.
PAC-G has four member characterisation institutes. These are the European Neutron Source (ILL), the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), the GENESIS neutron generator at the Laboratory of Subatomic Physics & Cosmology (LPSC-CNRS) and the Laboratoire d'Electronique et de Technologies de l'Information at the Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique (CEA-LETI).
In addition to the member institutes, PAC-G also has three industrial partners and one associated partner. These are STMicroelectronics, Soitec, Schneider Electric and SERMA Technologies, respectively. For more information about the four members institutes, partners and members of the PAC-G please expand the sections below.
SERMA Technologies is an associate partner of the PAC-G and specialises in electronics technologies management "ETM®", offering consultancy, expertise, analysis, inspection and testing services for components, circuit boards and full electronic systems, and assists its customers throughout the industrial cycle by advising them in the development, durability and reliability of their products.
Business Development Engineer at PAC-G
Responsible GENESIS platform at CNRS-LPSC
Head of Accelerator and Ion Source Division at CNRS-LPSC
Head of Business Development at ESRF
Deputy Head of Business Development at ESRF
Program Manager Nanocharacterization at CEA-LETI
Research Engineer at CEA-LETI
Scientific Responsible at ILL
Nanotechnology Industrial Liaison Engineer at ESRF
The PAC-G member institutes offer a unique range of capabilities that cannot be matched anywhere else in the world. Furthermore, many of the techniques that they offer are complementary in nature.
Through PAC-G, our clients have access to a unique multidisciplinary team of knowledge experts. It's also a more efficient and convenient way of working.
PAC-G offers mail-in services and can carry out proprietary work under NDA/CDA agreements. There are also opportunities for long term collaborations.
The GENESIS neutron facility is currently undergoing several improvement works and is closed for external users until November 2019. These upgrades together with the new shielding configuration installed in early 2019, will allow increasing the flux up to ten times the current limit.
The GENESIS platform (Generator of Neutrons for Science and IrradiationS) is hosted by the Laboratory of Subatomic Physics & Cosmology (LPSC) in Grenoble. It proposes access to an accelerator-based neutron source which can provide an intense flux of 2.5 MeV or 14 MeV neutrons at the best European level. The accelerator, designed and built at LPSC, was recently upgraded and equipped with a compact ECR ion source, developed at LPSC, capable of delivering a continuous deuteron beam up to 1 mA at 220 keV.
The GENESIS platform is one of PAC-G’s irradiation facilities. It is mainly used for single-event effects testing in microelectronics.
On occasion of the International MicroNanoConference 2018, our colleague Rafael Varela Della Giustina was interviewed to talk about how science support industry. He also offered three application cases illustrating how the research facilities, such as the ESRF, ILL, LPSC and CEA-Leti; can support growth and competitiveness in microelectronics.
Often seen as two different worlds, science and industry evolve together. As industry addresses specific market needs, R&D activities (and in broader perspective: science) provide the key enabling technologies to do so. Think of it as building bricks: people want houses with particular characteristics => that constitutes a market. The industry is responsible for the construction and the assembly of those houses. As for Science and Research, they develop the bricks and the tools needed to build those structures.
This metaphor is particularly true when it comes to microelectronics. For years, joint collaborative research efforts were made in order to continue scaling down transistor sizes. This would in turn allow higher performance, lower price and lower power microchips that would trigger the development of that new ultrafast computer or that super cool smartphone. In a sense, the whole industry advanced together in one very well-known direction.
Recently, with technology nodes down to some tens of nanometres scaling has shown its limitations and this logic inversed its direction. As instance, it is the customer need for connected objects that drives the technological developments and specification for IoT devices. Consequently, a whole set of new technologies came to light, in different sizes, shapes and compositions, in order to allow new product developments: TSVs, bonding techniques, heterogeneous integration, copper pillars for flip-chips, new wafer-level packaging technologies, new materials, advanced substrates, bandgap engineering, III-V materials and so on. This “soup” of technological choices demands a lot of basic and applied research. More than ever, industry and science are tightly holding hands together.
With the speech “Large Scale instruments tackling nanoscale characterization challenges in microelectronics” at the International MicroNano Conference 2018, Rafael will go through three application cases illustrating how these research facilities can support growth and competitiveness in microelectronics:
Mr Jean-Eric Paquet, Director General for Research & Innovation European Commission, came to visit the BM05, the ESRF’s beamline co-founded by the IRT NanoElec
On 8th January, the European Photons and Neutrons Campus had the pleasure to host Jean-Eric Paquet, European Commission Director-General for Research and Innovation, European Union, who came to discover the industrial and academic landscape based in Grenoble and to visit the European Synchrotron (ESRF) and the European Neutron Source – the Institute Laue-Langevin (ILL).
During his visit to the ESRF, Jean Susini (Director of Research, ESRF) introduced Mr Paquet to the team managing the Platform for Advanced Characterisation – Grenoble (PAC-G) – and to the PAC-G platform hosted on ESRF’s BM05, which is 50% funded by the IRT Nanoelec. This unique platform includes: a five-circle goniometer, a robot that automatically positions 300 mm and 200 mm wafers on the diffractometer, a mirror to focus the beam to less than 30 microns, an optical microscope to locate the areas (measuring just several microns) to be observed and two 2D detectors effective at high levels of X-ray synchrotron radiation and offering spatial resolution of 60 microns. One of its big advantages is the large size of one of the two detectors (25 cm x 2.5 cm), which makes it possible to rapidly map reciprocal space. Three years since the initial investment, the PAC-G team was able to show Mr Paquet the range of operational, innovative and commercial services tailored for the nano- and micro-electronics industry.
We asked M. Paquet, what was his impression after this day: “How do you consider the role of the ESRF and ILL in the European scenario, with regard to new trends in innovation?”
The main focus of Research Infrastructures is to perform curiosity-driven fundamental research. However, Research Infrastructures – such as the ESRF and ILL – also have an innovation potential that goes much beyond the direct socio-economic impact in their local and regional ecosystems.
More and more, Research Infrastructures are service providers to industrial players’ needs, such as nano-characterisation of materials, which can have a huge impact on citizens’ lives in areas such as battery development, energy provision, cancer treatment, environmental monitoring, among many others.
Partnering with industry for the supply of high tech components and launching new initiatives, such as ATTRACT, also lays down the foundations for disruptive innovation in key critical technologies. Examples of these developments, which also develop new markets, include the new generation of detectors, virtual astronomical observatories, lenses, protein scanners, magnets, energy efficient computers, etc.
Adding to this, I would also highlight they are the perfect multi-disciplinary test-beds, as their users – scientists and industrial players – cover virtually all fields of science, from physics, chemistry and biology, to energy, medicine, cultural heritage and engineering.
Below we've listed some of the most common questions that we get asked. Please click on a question to see the answer. If you have other questions for us then please contact us
What is the PAC-G?
PAC-G stands for Platform for Advanced Characterisation Grenoble. It is a single entry-point for the advanced characterization services provided by the European Synchrotron (ESRF), the European neutron source (ILL) and the Laboratory of Subatomic physics and cosmology (LPSC). The particularity of the PAC-G is to address the semiconductors market, specifically micro- and nano- electronics instead of having a broad range of sectors. The access is done in a fast and cost- competitive manner, with confidentiality levels adapted to your needs, which makes it particularly interesting for industrial research. Our scientists will set up the instruments beamlines and, depending on the service chosen, will perform the measurements and analyze the data.
No need for proposals, peer reviews or publications. We secure beamtime and also provide advice on the best technique (or combination of techniques) to use based on your characterization challenge.
How was PAC-G created?
The PAC-G was created within the frame of the French Technological Research Institute (IRT) Nanoelec, funded under the Investissements d’avenir economic stimulus package, (grant ANR-10-AIRT-05).
PAC-G aim is to open the large-scale facilities of Grenoble to the industry with characterisation services. If you are interested in other ways of collaborating with these research facilities (long-term collaborations, PhD proposals, public research etc.) we invite you to contact us and we will put you in contact with the right person inside these organisations.
How do I use PAC-G characterization services?
PAC-G characterization services are tailored for industrial R&D.
I am an experienced user, can I reserve only the beamtime to perform my tests?
Yes, if you are already familiar with synchrotron X-rays or neutrons you can book only the beamtime and perform your experiments. You will have a local contact available to help you in case you need any assistance.
I have no specific knowledge in characterization or in the use of synchrotron X-rays or neutrons, is PAC-G for me?
Yes. The main role of the PAC-G is to provide all the support needed in the use of large-scale facilities, from experts to new users. Starting from the expression of your need, we can structure a test plan and also guide you through our portfolio of techniques in order to find a suitable solution.
What information can PAC-G techniques provide?
PAC-G techniques use synchrotron X-rays and neutrons to probe matter like giant microscopes, giving useful information from wafer-level characterization, device and system level characterization.
|PAC-G Technique||Information Derived|
|XRD (group of techniques)||Crystal structure, composition, crystalline grain size, phase recognition, lattice parameters|
|3D Reciprocal Space mapping||Texture (crystallographic orientation of grains), microstructure, internal phases|
|Reflectometry (XRR, NR)||Thickness, roughness, electronic density, delaminations, interface characterisation|
|X-ray topography (XRT) (Group of techniques)||Crystal defects, dislocations, residual strain, stress, deformation|
|Small Angle Scattering (SAXS, SANS)||Defects (voids) size, size distribution, growth kinetics, Statistical characterisation|
|Critical dimension SAXS (CD-SAXS)||Morphology of line grating nano-objects (line width and height, picth size (period), line edge roughness, etc.|
|Tomography (Neutron and X-ray)||Morphology, defects, cracks, voids, precipitates, 3D visualisation, water/H contamination|
|X-ray fluorescence, Neutron Depth Profile||Contaminants, dopants concentration, chemical mapping|
|14 MeV neutron irradiation||Single-event effects (SEE) sensitivity, random fault-injection, pre-qualification of electronic components|
|Low energy neutron irradiation (thermal)||Single-event effects (SEE) sensitivity|
|Pulsed, focused X-ray irradiation||Localised fault injection, Single-event effects (SEE) sensitivity|
How much does it cost to access PAC-G facilities?
Price is generally derived from beam time price rate of the facility the test is going to be using. Contact us for a quote.
How much time does it take to get the results?
Paid access is normally scheduled in the shortest possible delay, typically 1 month.
What are typical applications of PAC-G techniques?
Synchrotron X-rays and neutrons have applications in a variety of R&D topics like process development and optimization, development of models and yield enhancement, failure analysis and reliability investigations, radiation hardness testing.
What is the difference between using PAC-G’s services and its operator facilities (ESRF, ILL, LPSC)?
PAC-G is the result of a partnership between the ESRF, ILL and LPSC and as such, it is a part of those facilities. It works as an entry point, managing accounts and customer relationship. There are no margins or extra-costs associated with the use of the PAC-G, which is staffed by employees from ESRF and ILL.
Do I need to publish my results?
The aim of PAC-G is to foster industrial use of large-scale research facilities for proprietary research through paid services, which are confidential by nature. If a client wants to publish all or part of his research involving the PAC-G, we will provide all the support he needs so he can do it. There are no obligations though.
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