Thursday, the final day of the conference, is always full of mixed emotions. I’m exhausted and glad the end is coming since I don’t think I can absorb anything else and need time to process all that I have seen and heard. But like a sugar rush that turns into a sugar crash, when the last paper is over and the halls start emptying out, I feel almost depressed. The energy and pace of the week is entirely unsustainable, but it is intoxicating.
In the morning I saw another good paper by Bertrand Le-Gratiet of STMicro, this time on the uses of contour-based metrology. Both of his talks were perfect illustrations of the power of the visual representation of data. Sufficiently complex data sets can contain many important lessons, but pulling out the new and useful information from the background of the known and expected can be difficult. The right graph or presentation of the data can make the important points excessively clear. I also liked two imec papers showing PSD analysis of AFM data. By running an AFM tip in a 1D stripe along the top of a photoresist line we can get important information not available in a top-down SEM image. PSD analysis of the data proved a very useful representation of that top surface roughness.
I spent the entire afternoon in the Grant Willson Tribute Session. On the occasion of Grant’s retirement, the Patterning Materials conference devoted three hours to honoring the most famous and most beloved resist chemist in the world. The talks walked us through Grant’s career with heartwarming stories of how he has profoundly changed each of us. Here is the list of speakers, covering many (but not all) of the important phases of Grant’s life in science and engineering:
Bob Allen (IBM Almaden)
Yan Borodovsky (retired from Intel)
Ralph Dammel (EMD)
Cliff Henderson (Univ. of South Florida)
Chris Mack (Fractilia)
Dave Medeiros (Globalfoundries)
Doug Resnick (Canon)
Mark Somervell (Tokyo Electron)
As almost every speaker emphasized, Grant’s massively important technical accomplishments are dwarfed by the personal influences he has had on so many people, but especially the 274 (+1) students that have graduated from his University of Texas research group. This tribute was definitely the highlight of the week for me, with the love for Grant pouring out from each speaker, and palpably present throughout the room. We will miss you, Grant. (But not me, since I live in Austin and hope to continue seeing Grant just as often as before!)