According to the selection committee, Bijkerk was able to immediately utilise his scientific research results for the development and production of multilayer mirrors for several industrial applications. "Bijkerk deployed all of his capacities to this end. The valorisation arose from his efforts to increase fundamental knowledge: both physical/chemical and technological knowledge were applied and developed at the same time. In addition, Bijkerk is renowned for the entrepreneurial manner in which he commits himself to developing relevant knowledge for industrial partners. Yet in doing this he does not lose sight of the fundamental aspects of the research. Bijkerk has made all of the steps from fundamental physics research, via experimental proof of the physical possibilities through to the application in various industrial prototypes." This was the conclusion of the selection committee led by Joop Sistermans (chair of the Advisory Council for Science and Technology Policy), which therefore advised FOM to award this second edition of the FOM Valorisation Prize to Bijkerk.
Fred Bijkerk (55) is head of the Nanolayer Surface and Interface Physics Department of Rijnhuizen and is also a professor at the University of Twente. In addition to many scientific and technical publications, Bijkerk and his department have developed 30 patents in the area of multilayer mirrors, EUV radiation sources and detection systems, including manufacturing methods and applications in photolithography and fluorescence analysis. Furthermore, the work has resulted in twelve PhD theses, including that of Tim Tsarfati. In 2009, Tsarfati received the first FOM Valorisation Chapter Prize for the chapter in his thesis about utilisation of his research results. He now works at Rijnhuizen as the valorisation manager.
About the research
The development of new technologies for the production of the next generations of semiconductors is proceeding apace. The number of transistors per unit area on an integrated circuit must continue to grow in order to satisfy the requirements of economic return for the semiconductor manufacturing industry. The resolution of the lithographic projection technology plays a key role in this and requires the use of light with increasingly shorter wavelengths. EUV lithography is a highly promising technology that is now being further developed so that it can be used in the future to manufacture semiconductor structures of about 20 nanometres and smaller.
Fred Bijkerk was able to directly utilise his scientific results for the development and production of EUV optics for industrial applications. Important contributions from Bijkerk and his team were, for example:
- achieving world records for EUV reflectivity and lifetime of multilayer optics by applying the physical and chemical knowledge developed;
- the successful application of special, contrast-enhancing diffusion barriers in the multilayer optics as a result of which the total mirror reflection could be increased by 50%;
- making the first images in Europe using EUV light and special optics developed for this purpose;
- the development of techniques to counteract contamination of the optics;
- the development and introduction of a universal optical metrology standard that is now used worldwide by industry and academia;
- the development of new optical elements for fluorescence analysis, a technique to analyse the composition of materials.
All of this knowledge has been successfully transferred to industrial partners in a unique and intensive collaboration within public-private contract research.
About the prize
The FOM Valorisation Prize was inaugurated by the Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter to encourage the valorisation of physics research. The prize is awarded each year to a researcher (or group of researchers) working in physics at a Dutch research institute who have succeeded in translating results from their own research into products, processes or services, thereby creating added value for the economy or society.
The FOM Valorisation Prize is a tribute. It also serves as an inspiring example for other researchers so that they become more aware of the possibilities for valorising the knowledge they acquire during their research. The prize fits within FOM’s objective of making a relevant contribution to the Dutch knowledge economy and contributing to solving scientific challenges in industry and society in general. The winner receives a payment of 250,000 euro. Of this, 235,000 euro is intended as a grant for a new research/valorisation project and the remaining 15,000 euro is for personal use by the winner.