The patterning of semi-conductors has entered a new age, becoming quicker and more energy and resource efficient thanks to precise atomic 3D printing. This is the technology focused on by the start-up ATLANT 3D Nanosystems (ATLANT 3D) – a spin-off from Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), the Technical University of Denmark and the Institute of Electrical Engineering Slovak Academy of Sciences. The company has just succeeded in increasing its capital by 15 million US dollars.
ATLANT 3D is a Danish deep tech start-up that aims to increase the sustainability and accessibility of production methods for micro and nano electronics. The company was founded by Professor Julien Bachmann, Chair of Chemistry of Thin Film Materials at FAU, together with Dr. Maksym Plakhotnyuk, former postdoc at the Technical University of Denmark, and Ivan Kundrata from the Institute of Electrical Engineering Slovak Academy of Sciences. All three are directors of the company.
Prototype from Erlangen
The innovative prototype for the company’s technology has been largely developed at FAU. Until now, the semiconductor industry has focused on physics: layer after layer of materials are deposited on top of each other, exposed to light and then brought into a specific pattern. The process is repeated several times. The costly and energy-intensive process generates considerable quantities of waste. Julien Bachmann and his team have chosen to concentrate on the chemical components instead. Their direct patterning method deliberately makes use of the natural selectivity of chemical processes, ensuring that molecules can only react with the surface in the “right” places. This enables precise atom by atom printing even on complex surfaces. As well as saving time, costs and energy, this new approach also avoids the waste otherwise generated by surplus material layers (see press release on “Fast track to innovation”).
Thanks to this concept, the spin-off has now acquired funding amounting to 15 million US dollars. The investment round raising funding for ATLANT 3D is led by the British venture capital company West Hill Capital. Other stakeholders include existing investors as well as a major company from Japan.
“The investment in ATLANT 3D has taken us a huge step closer to achieving our vision of a modern, sustainable and flexible manufacturing platform based on chemical intelligence. We especially hope that it will finally make semiconductor production accessible to a wider range of people. As a result, the funding will not only benefit our company, but also all the innovators across the globe who will be able to implement and explore their own innovative ideas using our new technology. The foundations were laid at FAU,” explains Julien Bachmann
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