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Chemical engineering major Ingrid DeVries ’05 (Hopewell Junction, N.Y.) explored different aspects of microelectronics through a summer internship spent testing a microprocessor manufacturing component at an IBM plant in East Fishkill, N.Y.

DeVries worked in the 300mm fabrication line of the plant’s business operations department, which produces microprocessors from 12-inch silicon wafers. Her specific involvement was in chemical mechanical polish, a process used to planarize the wafer.

”Before the wafer came to my process, a 9,000- to 10,000-angstrom layer of oxide was deposited over it,” she explains. ”My process polished the wafer down to about 6,000 angstroms, plus or minus 500. The polish is accomplished by a combination of chemical reactions and pressure. A slurry flows onto the table where the polish takes place and reacts with the oxide on the wafer. The pressure is a result of downward force from above the wafer, which presses the wafer against the slurry and a pad. My project for the summer was to test a new pad, an alternative to the industry standard.”

The 300mm line is a state-of-the-art cleanroom, notes DeVries. She witnessed the set-up and testing of its tools and saw some of the first product lots go through the line. In addition to learning about her own process, she learned about many of the other processes on the line and microelectronics in general, she says.

”I enjoyed working closely with the process engineers,” adds DeVries. ”I was able to learn a lot from them about problem solving and teamwork, in addition to technical knowledge.”

DeVries is a member of the student chapter of American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the track and field team, Pep Band, Brass Ensemble, and Alpha Gamma Delta sorority. She is studying abroad in Brussels, Belgium next spring.

Categorized in: Academic News