SRC Engineering Research Center for Environmentally Benign Semiconductor Manufacturing (ERC)

                                                          **  Bringing Sustainability to Semiconductor Manufacturing **

A multi-university research center leading the way to environmentally friendly semiconductor manufacturing, sponsored by the Semiconductor Research Corporation's Global Research Collaboration (GRC) Research Program

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ERC Vision, Goals and Research Strategy:

In 1996, the NSF/SRC Engineering Research Center (ERC) for Environmentally Benign Semiconductor Manufacturing was created as a result of a joint initiative between the University of Arizona (lead institution), the  Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, and the University of California-Berkeley with co-sponsorship from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC).  The ERC's goal was to create the science, technology, and educational methods needed to lead the semiconductor industry to a new era of environmentally benign manufacturing.  When the ERC "graduated" from the NSF's Engineering Research Center program in 2006, the ERC continued under sponsorship of the SRC jointly with SEMATECH/ISMI (2006-2011).  The ERC has continued its partnership with the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) throughout, and continues its firm commitment to developing its goals and objectives.

  • Develop novel strategic solutions to existing environmental, safety and health (ESH) problems in semiconductor manufacturing.
  • Create new and effective environmentally benign manufacturing processes.
  • Demonstrate the positive impact of design for environment on all aspects of semiconductor manufacturing
  • Develop innovative education programs in which environmental factors are integral parts of the curriculum.

    Our specific objectives for achieving these goals were to:
  • Develop a methodology for incorporating Environment, Safety & Health (ESH) factors as design parameters in the development of new processes, tools, and protocols for semiconductor manufacturing.  The emphasis is on an "integrated approach," where interactions among processes are considered, and on "process optimization" for waste minimization. rather than relying on abatement and "end-of-the-pipe" treatments.
  • Demonstrate this methodology by applying it to selected manufacturing process groups that are of significant ESH concern.
  • Integrate the Center activities with academic programs to provide unique learning opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students
  • Extend the education mission to include continuing education and short courses for those in industry who wish to update their training in this area, and outreach to high school teachers to improve science and math instruction and make teachers aware of employment opportunities in the environmental and semiconductor industries.
  • Provide a technical forum for experts from industry, research institutions, and government agencies to exchange ideas and information on ESH concerns in semiconductor manufacturing.  These exchanges will be on a proactive, preventive, non-regulatory, and pre-competitive basis.
lab9.jpg (80741 bytes)


lab1.jpg (84847 bytes) Environmental factors are often not included in the design and development of new tools and processes in the semiconductor industry. Integrating Design For the Environment into new processes and tools for the industry is the technical driver and the common theme of the Center’s research.  The Center’s interdisciplinary research efforts involve 14 universities and 11 different academic disciplines.

The semiconductor industry is a very fast-moving industry, one which creates many opportunities for innovation and implementation of changes. The fast pace also presents a major challenge in planning and conducting long-term research. One challenge is to strike the right balance between long-term development, short-term relevance, and application to the present problems. The Center’s research strategy is to maintain this balance and promote a mix of projects and activities ranging from high-risk, high-payoff research to smaller projects with more immediate applications.

Originally organized in thrusts built around semiconductor manufacturing processes [Thrust A (Back-End Processes), Thrust B (Front-End), Thrust C (Factory Integration), and Thrust D (Patterning)], the ERC's current core research and customized projects are listed below. 

Annual reports, interim research reports and annual review meeting materials are also listed below, and are available to SRC and ERC members only; these materials are password protected, privileged information and not for distribution.  SRC members can access ERC research information via the SRC website:


425.036 Administration of SRC Engineering Research Center for Environmentally Benign Semiconductor Manufacturing
Farhang Shadman, ERC Director
425.046 Alternative Etchants for Magnetic Materials
Faculty participant:  Jan Pei-Chen Chang (University of California-Los Angeles)
425.048 Bioaccumulation, Biopersistence, and Toxicity of CMP Nanoparticles in Mammalian and Aquatic Models (SRC 425.048)
Faculty participants:  Rockford Draper (University of Texas/Dallas); Paul Pantano (University of Texas/Dallas)
425.049 Investigation of Speciation in III-V Wet Etching to Mitigate Hazardous Product Formation (SRC 425.049)
Faculty participants:  Anthony Muscat (University of Arizona); Srini Raghavan (University of Arizona)
425.050 Understanding the Sorption Characteristics of III-V Wet Materials on CMP Nanoparticles and Evaluate their Environmental Impact using a Zebrafish Model (SRC 425.050)
Faculty participant:  Andre Nel (University of California/Los Angeles)
425.051 Understanding the Physicochemical Properties, Behavior and Toxicity Threshold Limit of Bound and Unbound Engineered Nanomaterials (SRC 425.051)
Faculty participant:  Shyam Aravamudhan (North Carolina A&T)

Aquatic Fate and Toxicity of III/V Semiconductor Materials in the Presence of Chemical-Mechanical Planarization Nanoparticles (SRC 425.052)
Faculty participants:  Reyes Sierra (University of Arizona); Paul Westerhoff (Arizona State University)



425.036 Administration of SRC Engineering Research Center for Environmentally Benign Semiconductor Manufacturing
Farhang Shadman, ERC Director
425.036 *  Preparation and Characterization of Model CMP Nano-Particles
    Faculty participants:  Reyes Sierra (Lead PI), Jim Field, and Farhang Shadman, University of Arizona
*  Methods for Reducing the Usage of UHP Gases in Fabs
    Faculty participants:  Farhang Shadman (Lead PI), Jim Field, and Reyes Sierra, University of Arizona
425.037 Cell-Based Toxicity Assay-on-Chip for the Next-Generation CMOS Technology
Faculty participants:  Shyam Aravamudhan, North Carolina A&T State University (Lead PI); Marinella Sandros, UNC/Greensboro; Ethan Taylor, UNC/Greensboro; Shanthi Iyer, NC A&T
425.038 Non-PFC Plasma Chemistries for Patterning Complex Materials and Structures
Faculty participants:  Jane Pei-Chen Chang, University of California-Los Angeles (Lead PI)
425.039 'Pad-in-a-Bottle': Planarization with Slurries Containing Suspended Polyurethane Beads
Faculty participants:  Ara Philipossian (Lead PI), University of Arizona; Duane Boning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
425.040 Detection of Engineered Nanomaterials at Semi-Conductor Facilities and Consumer Products
Faculty participants:  Paul Westerhoff (Lead PI), Arizona State University; Jonathan Posner, University of Washington; Pierre Herckes, Arizona State University; James Ranville, Colorado School of Mines; Chris Higgins, Colorado School of Mines
425.041 Interactions of Chemical Mechanical Planarization Nanoparticles with Model Cell Membranes: Implications for Nanoparticle Toxicity
Faculty participant:  Kai Loon Chen (Lead PI), Johns Hopkins University
425.042 Dispersion, Bioaccumulation, and Mechanisms of Nanoparticle (NP) Toxicity
Faculty participants:  Steven Nielsen (Lead PI), Rockford Draper, Paul Pantano, Inga Musselman, and Gregg Diekmann, University of Texas-Dallas
425.043 ESH-Friendly Cleaning and Rinsing of Multi-Material Surfaces and Structures
Faculty participants:  Farhang Shadman (Lead PI), Srini Raghavan, and Manish Keswani, University of Arizona
425.044 Computer-Aided Design of Nanomaterials with the Desired Bioactivity and Safety Profiles
Faculty participants:  Alexander Tropsha (Lead PI), and Denis Fourches, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
425.045 Develop Externally Validated QNAR Models that can be Reliably Used to Prioritize Nanoparticles for Biological and Safety Studies
Faculty participants:  Alexander Tropsha (Lead PI), and Denis Fourches, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
425.046 Alternative Etchants for Magnetic Materials
Faculty participant:  Jan Pei-Chen Chang, University of California-Los Angeles (Lead PI)
425.047 Initial Sorption and Toxicity Screening of III/V Ions
Faculty participants:  Farhang Shadman (Lead PI), and Reyes Sierra, University of Arizona
2324.001 Solutions Irradiated with Megasonic Waves
Faculty participants:  Srini Raghavan (Lead PI), and Manish Keswani, University of Arizona
2481.001 N(2)O Abatement: Reaction Mechanisms and Methods for Improving Efficiency
Faculty participants:  Farhang Shadman (Lead PI), University of Arizona, and Jost Wendt (University of Utah)

CUSTOMIZED HVmM PROJECTS (Co-sponsored by Intel and ERC): 2012-2014


Attenuation of CMP Nanoparticles by Wastewater Sludge
Jim Field, University of Arizona; Reyes Sierra, University of Arizona


Natural Resource Conservation in Semiconductor High Volume Manufacturing by Waste Brine Minimization and Solids Recovery by Membrane Distillation
Wendell Ela, University of Arizona


Reclamation of Sulfuric Acid from Spent Piranha Solutions and Piranha Generated Wastewater (Novel Technologies for Lowering Water Usage and Waste Discharge
James Farrell, University of Arizona; [Carl Geisert, Intel]


Recovery of Solvents from Semi-Aqueous Waste Streams Generated from Various Semiconductor Processing Steps
Srini Raghavan, University of Arizona; Manish Keswani, University of Arizona


Removal of Inorganic Nanoparticles in CMP Effluents Using Porous Media Filtration
Reyes Sierra, University of Arizona


Treatment of High Fluoride, High Ammonia Wastewaters using Fluidized Bed Crystallization and Electrochemical Ammonia Destruction
James Farrell, University of Arizona; [Allen Boyce, Intel]