RICHARDSON, Texas and RAPID CITY, S.D., March 24 /PRNewswire/ -- South
Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds today announced a cooperative agreement involving
Zyvex Corp. of Richardson, Texas, the state of South Dakota and Rapid City
economic development efforts to designate the South Dakota School of Mines and
Technology as the exclusive provider of integrated circuit (IC) failure
analysis services to the semi-conductor industry.
The agreement between the world's leading supplier of molecular
nanotechnology tools, products and services and the South Dakota School of
Mines and Technology (SDSMT) will help bring new high-tech research,
development and commercialization opportunities to the state.
"I am very proud that Zyvex, and more specifically Mr. Jim Von Ehr, has
put his confidence in the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology for this
cutting-edge technological service," Governor Rounds said. "Zyvex could have
chosen any site in the world, but they chose South Dakota because of our
people and our ability to work as a team."
Under the agreement, Zyvex will outsource testing services to the Center
for Accelerated Applications at the Nanoscale (CAAN), located on SDSMT campus
in Rapid City. The Center is one of four research centers created last year
by Gov. Rounds' 2010 Initiative. One of the goals of the initiative is to
strengthen university research and its commercial applications in South
"We are extremely excited to partner with the South Dakota School of Mines
and Technology," said James Von Ehr, founder and chairman of Zyvex Corp.
"Nanotechnology has been called 'the next industrial revolution' because of
its potential to transform manufacturing into a high-margin, environmentally
clean industry with the economics and versatility of software.
"South Dakota has made a rare commitment to foster not just academic
research, but real commercialization of this field," Von Ehr added.
"Investing in research is valuable to society at large, but investing in
commercialization, with the jobs that will be created, will have a greater
economic payback for the region that hosts those new companies."
The agreement between SDSMT and Zyvex involves the purchase of highly
specialized equipment from Zyvex. The equipment measures and manipulates
structures smaller than 10 nanometers. A nanometer is one-billionth of a
meter. As a comparison, a human hair's diameter measures about 100,000
SDSMT will be the first university to have this type of fully integrated
system installed and operational. The probing system will allow the
university to utilize the most advanced integrated system developed for IC
probing and nanomanipulation.
Electrical characterization of integrated circuits is an integral
component of the fabrication and design loop. As high magnification scanning
beam microscopes are needed to keep up with the decreasing size scale of IC
technology, electrical characterization using probing systems that are
specifically designed and optimized for operation in these microscopes is
The need to probe sub-100 nanometer features is relatively new to the
semiconductor industry. The Zyvex system, part of their NanoWorks(R) product
line, is capable of easily landing four NanoEffector(TM) probes within a
125 x 125 nanometer area with better than 5 nanometer resolution.
"The semiconductor industry just keeps making things smaller and smaller,"
said CAAN Director Dr. Shawn Decker. "Until Zyvex developed the equipment,
the ability to test integrated circuits at this level did not exist." Decker
added, "Along with providing the highest level of IC probing service to
current Zyvex customers, my job will be to actively provide IC Probing
services for customers in the semi-conductor industry from all over the world.
We will soon be open for business here in South Dakota to provide integrated
circuit failure analysis at the nanoscale that is not commercially available
anywhere else. We are honored and excited to be working with Zyvex on this
and other nano level initiatives!"
With data collected from individual on-chip transistors using the Zyvex
Nanomanipulator/prober, IC design engineers can feed actual device data into
design models to improve modeling accuracy.
Zyvex NanoWorks Products comprise flexible, cost-effective, modular tools
that promote interchangeability of sample/structural carriers. Combining
these with interchangeable NanoEffector tools provides a wide array of
experimental options -- whether the aim is to study meso, micro, nano or
molecular based structures.
"Acquiring this equipment and providing product testing services to the
private sector will help create a national reputation for this new research
and development center at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology," said
Harvey Jewett, President of the SD Board of Regents. "It will also provide a
useful research environment for the university's newly approved Ph.D. program
in nanoscience and nanoengineering."
Rapid City Mayor Jim Shaw agreed. "We have always believed that the
university is a cornerstone to developing a technology-based economic
development future for our community, region and state," Mayor Shaw said.
"Our economic development community has been preparing programs and resources
for many years now, like the new business incubator at the South Dakota School
of Mines and Technology campus. We are prepared and poised to participate in
this bright future."
Rounds announced that the state has provided a $250,000 grant to help
SDSMT and CAAN acquire the equipment. "Additional funds were provided through
a loan from the Rapid Fund, a local economic development revolving loan fund,"
said Rapid City Area Economic Development President Bob DeMersseman. "This
opportunity between Zyvex and the university will help all of us leverage the
leadership Gov. Rounds has provided through the 2010 Initiative."
About the participants
Zyvex Corporation, based in Richardson, Texas, is the first molecular
nanotechnology company. Zyvex's vision is to be the leading worldwide
supplier of tools, products and services that enable adaptable, affordable and
molecularly precise manufacturing. Zyvex commercializes nanotechnology to
address real-world applications with high growth potential. Zyvex carries its
scientific breakthroughs into key commercial applications in the area of
materials, tools and structures. http://www.zyvex.com
The 2010 Initiative, unveiled by Gov. Rounds in October of 2003, outlines
a series of specific goals, objectives and action plans for economic growth
and visitor spending in the state by the year 2010. When our vision is fully
realized, the 2010 Initiative will yield an unprecedented era of opportunity
and economic development for our state. It's an exciting and important
undertaking, one that will have lasting impact for all of us here in South
The South Dakota School of Mines and Technology serves the people of South
Dakota as their technological university. Its mission is to provide a well-
rounded education that prepares students for leadership roles in engineering
and science; to advance the state of knowledge and application of this
knowledge through research and scholarship; and to benefit the state, region,
and nation through collaborative efforts in education and economic
development. It is dedicated to being a leader in 21st Century education that
reflects a belief in the role of engineers and scientists as crucial to the
advancement of society. http://www.sdsmt.edu
SOURCE Zyvex Corporation