Boosting circularity for manufacturing value chains

Chip Zero theme “Boosting circularity for manufacturing value chains” - Interview with theme lead Riina Ritasalo


Who are you and what is your role at Applied Materials?
I am Riina Ritasalo, a dedicated professional with a background in Materials Science. At Applied Materials in Finland, I lead the Application R&D team, focusing on ALD process and application development. I started at Picosun, now part of Applied Materials, eight years ago and have acted as Project Manager in a number of EU and Business Finland funded projects.

What drives you in your role?
My passion lies in research and development, constantly striving to be part of innovative projects and leading teams of experts. I am particularly interested in driving sustainability and circularity in semiconductor manufacturing, finding ways to reduce waste and promote environmentally friendly alternatives.

Can you introduce us to your theme within the Chip Zero project?
Certainly! My theme within the Chip Zero project focuses on boosting circularity and driving the semiconductor industry towards a greener and more sustainable direction. We aim to achieve this by screening recycling possibilities in the semiconductor manufacturing chains, identifying areas with the most improvement potential, and exploring material recovery options.

What are the objectives of the theme?
The primary goal is to create sustainable solutions for semiconductor manufacturing value chains. We aim to reduce the consumption of hazardous chemicals, select environmentally friendly alternatives, identify recycling opportunities, and promote material recovery and re-use. By doing so, we contribute to the overall objective of achieving a "Chip with zero-lifetime emission."

What are the key research questions and challenges in your roadmap?
Our key research questions revolve around finding ways to recycle residual ALD materials, such as unreacted precursor materials, which are currently discarded as waste. The challenge lies in developing efficient recycling processes to recover valuable materials like platinum or ruthenium and reintroduce them into the ALD process or other industries. This not only reduces waste but also leads to significant cost reduction and enhances the environmental credentials of our technology.

How does your theme relate to the other themes and support the program's major goals?
The theme aligns with the overall objectives of the Chip Zero project, which aims to achieve a greener semiconductor industry with zero-lifetime emissions. By focusing on recycling, boosting circularity, and using environmentally friendly alternatives, our theme addresses key industry challenges. We also consider emissions and environmental effects throughout the entire manufacturing chain, emphasizing a lifecycle approach.

What is Applied Materials planning to do in relation to the Chip Zero project?
Applied Materials recognizes that collaboration is key to achieving our goals. We are actively bringing together a diverse ecosystem of partners to boost the economics of all Finnish semiconductor industry players. This collaborative effort will focus on national R&D, strengthening the competence of specialized employees, and addressing the negative environmental impacts of the industry. We have already submitted a Co-innovation proposal to Business Finland, hoping for their support in this important endeavor.

Where specifically is the contribution of partners needed in the ecosystem?
The contribution of partners is crucial in various aspects of our ecosystem. We require collaboration from academia, industry players involved in semiconductor manufacturing, and specialized employees to drive progress towards a greener and more sustainable future. By working together, we can share knowledge, resources, and expertise to create a competitive Finnish semiconductor industry on a global scale.

Do you already have potential partners in mind for collaboration/project concepts that you would like to mention?
We have seen high interest from potential partners and have already identified several collaboration opportunities. We believe that by collaborating with partners, we can pave the way for a more sustainable and competitive Finnish semiconductor industry on a global scale.


Join the ecosystem

Do you have an innovative project idea which is related to the R&D themes in the Zero Chip Ecosystem, and you would be interested in joining us? Send us your details today so we can discuss more. We will get back to you soon!