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URA Archive
Scholars 2008 - 2009

Michael Reid, Mathematics

"Numbering Simulation of Silicon Wafer Etching Using Parallel Programming"
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Matthias Gobbert
Expected Graduation Date: December 2008

When creating new microchips for computers, part of the process involves etching holes and trenches in particular patterns onto a silicon wafer. This is done by covering the plate with a resistance stencil that outlines the trenches, then applying an etching agent that reacts with the surface. The ionized gas particles are pulled directionally downward due to an applied magnetic field. When the gas molecules interact with the surface, other molecules emanate from the surface. The problem is that these resultant molecules collide with the molecules of the etching agent. This is undesirable, as these interactions cause the etching agent molecules to go off course and reduce the efficiency of the process. To investigate this problem, I will use the power of parallel computing. The idea of parallel computing is to distribute the work load for a mathematically complex problem which might take days or weeks to solve on one computer to a large number of computers, which will solve the problem in a fraction of the time. I will be using the Mathematics department’s parallel computer to perform such computations. The way I will implement parallel code is through the C++ programming language, using Message Passing Interface, or MPI.