Jean-Francois de Marneffe

Jean-Francois de Marneffe has received his Master Degree in Physics in 1996 at Brussels Free University (Belgium). In 2001, he presented a PhD thesis in Solid State Physics on electrical and magnetic properties of high-Tc superconducting cuprate thin films – this research work was partly performed at the Max-Planck Institut für festkörperforschung/CNRS of Grenoble (France). After that, he started at process engineer dry etch at imec v.z.w. where he performed advanced development on plasma etch technology. In 2011, he moved into a senior scientist position, in charge of applied research of his group.  Since then, he was promoted as principal scientist. His research focuses on the fundamental aspects of plasma etching and cleaning, atomic layer etching, plasma diagnostics, alternative patterning technologies, low-k dielectrics, and 2D materials. His work is applied in advanced CMOS manufacturing, photonics and health sciences.

Main research topic

Materials are essential for advanced semiconductor R&D. In the last 20 years, traditional silicon-based planar CMOS devices were replaced by much more complex structures (FinFETs, nanosheets, 3D integration) involving a wide range of chemical elements, in pure or alloyed state. The processing of such material became challenging, due to the wide range of reactivities of all these newly introduced elements. At the same time, dimensional scaling is being pushed to the atomic limit, making of material damage a critical aspect of processing. As an example, plasma-induced chemical modifications of porous low-k dielectrics lead to a drastic increase of their dielectric permittivity, destroying their advantage as pristine material. In the same range of idea, the processing of monolayer 2D semiconductors/conductors (transition metal dichalcogenides, Graphene) lead to unwanted & uncontrolled drift of their transport properties. Minimizing processing damage to the atomic level requires innovative ideas leading to new processing solutions.