TU Delft researchers: Dutch academic cleanrooms need upgrading

Paul van Gerven
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The aging Dutch academic cleanrooms urgently need investment, three microelectronics professors from Delft University of Technology argue in het Financieele Dagblad. Outdated facilities hamper the development of research into commercial products and leave our universities less attractive to international talent, Kofi Makinwa, Wouter Serdijn en GuoQi Zhang write in a letter to the editor (link in Dutch).

Credit: TU Delft/Else Kooi Lab

Zooming in on TU Delft’s own facilities, “the research into new chip materials and technologies taking place in our cleanrooms is groundbreaking. In these facilities, students learn to handle advanced machinery and startups develop new ideas and can test their innovations. These nurseries of the high-tech industry make our small country a global powerhouse.”

Without upgrades – from 4 to 8-inch wafers, for example – the power of the Netherlands to innovate will diminish, the authors state, pointing out that leading US and Asian universities have already moved to the larger substrates. “The ever-moving world of semiconductors needs a large-scale, long-term vision. A real industrial policy, just like we had in the 1980s (resulting in ASML).”

The plea from Delft follows the recent announcement of a 2.5-billion-euro stimulus package for the Brainport region, financed in large part by the cabinet. Other parts of the country are vying for similar investments from the national government.

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