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Contact person(s): Gabby Zegers
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November 28, 2012

New University of Twente Industrial Focus Group: Classic example of impact of Top Sector policy

Partnership is a marriage of cutting-edge science and high-tech applications

Today, a number of leading industrial and academic partners, such as the FOM Foundation, Mesa+ and the University of Twente, signed a contract that will launch a new initiative in the framework of Top Sector policy. It involves the establishment of the XUV Optics Industrial Focus Group at the MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology. What makes this initiative unique is that it is not just about doing fundamental science for its own sake, the research group also links this work to high-tech applications in industry. The consortium adopted this approach to boost the development of high-tech nanotechnology applications that are of great economic importance. This makes it one of the first concrete spinoffs of the government's Top Sector policy. Industry is providing no less than 38 percent of the 19,7 million euro budget, which underscores the importance that it places in this new initiative.
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The new XUV Optics Focus Group, headed by Prof. Fred Bijkerk, specializes in multilayer mirrors that can be used to accurately manipulate extreme ultraviolet light. These mirrors are used in space telescopes and in a range of other applications, such as the production of chips with ever faster processors and larger memory capacities. There is a strong demand from industry for such mirrors, as conventional mirrors cannot be used with this type of light. Accordingly, the group will be cooperating very closely with leading industrial partners such as ASML, Carl Zeiss, Demcon, PANalytical and SolMateS.

Top Sector policy
This close cooperation with industry is intended to significantly accelerate the development of high-tech products. The partnership is a classic example of the government’s Top Sector policy goals, in that it links scientific excellence to the development of relevant high-tech applications that are important both for industry and for the Dutch economy. Top Sector policy is intended to secure a place for the Netherlands among the world’s top five knowledge economies.

19.7 million euros
Industry is providing no less than 38 percent of the 19,7 million euro budget (until 2020), which shows the importance that it attaches to such cooperation. According to Prof. Bijkerk, there are still very few partnerships in the Netherlands in which the business community is so actively involved (especially on this scale) in cutting-edge, fundamental scientific research.

The XUV Optics Focus Group is a new step for the nanolayer Surface & Interface Physics (nSI) department currently led by professor Fred Bijkerk at DIFFER (the Dutch Institute for Fundamental Energy Research institute, which is part of FOM, the Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter) in Nieuwegein. In the course of 2013, this department will be moving to the Faculty of Science and Technology and the MESA+ research institute at the University of Twente. Once the contract has been signed by the FOM Foundation, MESA+, the University of Twente, ASML, Carl Zeiss, Demcon, PANalytical and SolMateS, the establishment of the Focus Group can proceed as planned. When the laboratory has been fitted out (in the spring of 2013), the department can start moving in. By the summer of 2014, the Focus Group will be operating at full strength in the MESA+ NanoLab at Twente.

Further information
For further information please contact:
University of Twente, Joost Bruysters, +31 (0) 53 489 27 73 or +31 (0)6 10 48 82 28.
FOM, Gabby Zegers, +31 (0)30 600 12 08.