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EU-Call: In-Line Measurement and Control for Micro-/Nano-Enabled High-Volume Manufacturing for Enhanced Reliability

This call addresses proposals regarding R&D activities on test and measurement of micro- and nanostructured surfaces during mass production. This could cover e.g.in-line measurement technics of optical surfaces.
Call opening date: 20 September 2016
Deadline: 19 January 2017

Specific Challenge: Rapid developments in micro-/nano-technologies require complex business models that respond to volatile markets in demand for faster product delivery with an unprecedented yield and quality. High-volume manufacturing is not spared from these requirements, and will in fact need to demonstrate a productivity improvement compared to lab-scale process development and low-volume manufacturing in order to remain commercially competitive.

The process scaling needs to include system-level architectures for metrology and control. This includes data acquisition and control at the levels of the process, the physical handling and the component validation. The in-line metrology and inspection for micro-/nano-production play an important role, together with a common reference system and approach across process chain. The evolution of the control system on the factory floor will also need to show various levels of distributed control in order to cover both batch-to-batch and run-to-run variations with real-time parameter prediction and feedback.

Practical industry solutions for reference metrology at these small dimensions are not readily available. However, whilst efforts are made towards producing reference materials, reliable and fast measurements that allow for control both at the process level and at the higher level of product vehicle or line, are needed. This will enable predictive management of batches, improved quality and speed control, and machine learning enabling fully autonomous control at the level of the process tool.

Scope: Proposals should include a systems-level strategy for integrating measurement and control throughout the production line for micro-/(nano-)enabled high volume manufacturing. To address this challenge the proposal will need to cover all of the following areas:

  • Measurement techniques that target highly integrated and functional products at the micro- (and nano-)scale.
  • Measurement and data acquisition which are non-destructive, i.e. no waste material at the measurement steps, and allow for high throughput scenarios in their respective industrial settings.
  • Traceability in the measurements back to reference samples (e.g. calibrated standard artefacts and products). Direct contributions to related standards may be a part of the proposal.
  • Approaches to control at the different levels of factory integration, including process variation, product/component reliability, waste optimisation, yield/output improvements and predictive/preventive corrections to the entire line.

Activities are expected to focus on Technology Readiness Levels 5 to 7 and to be centred around TRL6.

This topic addresses cross-KET activities.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 4 and 6 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Additional information can be found here.

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