Basic research for the semiconductor industry
With its new expanded laboratory facilities, ASM Microchemistry Oy is an increasingly visible part of the Kumpula campus. The ASM cooperation is continuing with the research group for thin films and nanomaterials at the University of Helsinki.

Having rented facilities from the university since 2004, ASM has expanded its operations and the new laboratories built on Pietari Kalmin katu are connected with their original facilities. The inauguration was celebrated at the beginning of September of this year, simultaneous with the 30th anniversary of the company.

The blue-and-white opening ribbon was cut by ASM International CEO Chuck del Prado, who is pleased to continue the collaboration with the University of Helsinki, with the intention of increasing the research output for advanced semiconductor technologies.

Innovations expected by the parent company

Advanced thin film process development based on atomic layer deposition (ALD) is the primary field of ASM Microchemistry Oy. Its clients are mainly business units developing deposition equipment products belonging to the globally active parent company, ASM International N.V., headquartered in the Netherlands.

‘We are expected to develop new methods and innovations to help the company strengthen its position as one of the world’s leading wafer fab equipment companies’, says Managing Director Marko Tuominen from ASM Microchemistry Oy.

Ivo Raaijmakers, CTO of ASM International, said at the opening that, of all the global company’s units, the Finnish unit is one of the most innovative ones.

Collaborative use of research instruments

The Chemicum building on Kumpula campus was selected for the Finnish operations because the company can use the research infrastructure already in place there. The collaboration was started by Professor Markku Leskelä, principal investigator of the University’s ALD group that has developed into a Finnish Academy centre of excellence.

Though they share the roof over their head, it doesn’t mean the company and the university operations are fully connected. There are detailed contracts over instrument use and ASM trade secrets remain controlled within the company.

The academic partner has also held on to its objectives.

‘Though the goal of the collaboration is to produce new patented processes, it has not slowed down the rate of publications. This is the result of ASM understanding and respecting our publication needs’, says Professor Markku Leskelä, head of the ALD research group at the University of Helsinki.

Research funding and jobs

‘The most significant impact for the university has been the sustained research funding lasting almost 15 years now. ASM Microchemistry Oy funds doctoral students’, says Professor Mikko Ritala from the ALD group.

The latest information on what the industry is interested in has demonstrated the success of these research programs.  After graduating, the students have an opportunity for a career in the field at home or abroad. Through ASM, the university has gained collaborations with other companies as well, and international research projects.

‘ASM has employed many graduates from the University of Helsinki’, says Mikko Ritala, who would also like to welcome other companies to the university. Ritala is in charge of the Kumpula Business Labs, which offers business facilities on the Kumpula campus.