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Elsa Reichmanis is a faculty member in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering of the Georgia Institute of Technology. Prior to joining Georgia Tech she was Bell Labs Fellow and Director of the Materials Research Department at Bell Labs, Alcatel-Lucent. She received her Ph. D. and BS degrees in chemistry from Syracuse University. In 1984, she was promoted to Supervisor of the Radiation Sensitive Materials and Application Group, followed by promotion to Head of the Polymer and Organic Materials Research Department in 1994. Her research interests include the chemistry, properties and application of materials technologies for photonic and electronic applications, with particular focus on polymeric and nanostructured materials for advanced technologies.

She has had impact on the field of microlithography, which is central to the manufacturing of electronic devices. Her work has contributed to the development of a molecular level understanding of how chemical structure affects materials function leading to new families of lithographic materials and processes that may enable advanced VLSI manufacturing. Notably, she was responsible for the design of new imaging chemistries for 193 nm lithography that were the first, readily accessible, and manufacturable materials for this technology. In a related area she was involved in the design and characterization of closed-pore nanoporous low-dielectric constant (k > 1.4) materials exhibiting a high degree of mechanical and environmental stability. She is currently exploring active, polymer, and hybrid organic/inorganic materials chemistries and processes for plastic electronics, photovoltaics and photonic technologies.

Specifically, Dr. Reichmanis was responsible for the development of a fundamental molecular level understanding of how chemical structure affects materials function leading to new families of lithographic materials and processes that may enable advanced VLSI manufacturing. This work has dealt with complex issues such as the effect of the chemical structure of individual resist components and their interaction with other moieties such as dissolution inhibitors and matrix resins. The structure and function of each component determines critical processing parameters such as dissolution rate, resolution, image fidelity, critical dimension line-width control, etc.

She designed and developed a class of non-ionic acid generator materials based upon o-nitrobenzyl ester chemistry. These materials are fully compatible with a wide range of polymeric matrix resins and as organic, covalently bound molecules, they contain no metallic elements that could lead to device contamination issues. An understanding of the solid-state photochemistry and intermolecular interactions between the esters and polymer matrices led to the development of a class of sensitive, high-resolution resists for 248 nm lithographic applications. These materials were the first commercial resists for this advanced technology.

The early discovery of the applicability of cholate esters as dissolution inhibitors for use in the creation of high-resolution photoresists was another first for Dr. Reichmanis. These UV transparent compounds change the solubility of a matrix polymer and enhance the materials' sensitivity to radiation by many orders of magnitude. They are especially important with the shift to finer feature sizes and shorter imaging wavelengths. It was found that the large molecular volume of these esters effects a dramatic change in solubility of a combined ester/matrix resin material from the aqueous base insoluble to aqueous base soluble state. The geometry of the cholate moiety coupled with the accessibility of the polar hydroxyl units on the cholate group play key roles in determining the dissolution inhibition characteristics of these materials.

Dr. Reichmanis went on to the design of new imaging chemistries for 193 nm lithography. Materials design for 193 nm is particularly challenging because of the limited choice of chemistries that can be employed that will additionally accommodate process requirements. A class of cycloolefin-maleic anhydride-acrylate copolymers was designed to be transparent at the imaging wavelength, soluble in aqueous base media, and resistant to plasma etching environments used for pattern transfer of images into silicon. These materials were among the first, readily accessible and manufacturable polymers to be made available for advanced silicon device manufacturing using 193 nm lithography.

In a separate but related area, she designed and developed a nanoporous material exhibiting a dielectric constant as low as 1.4. Amphiphilic block copolymers were used as templates in poly(methyl silsesquioxane) matrices to fabricate closed-pore nanoporous organosilicates. The closed-pore structure induces a greater degree of mechanical and environmental stability to these films facilitating their use in device applications.

The Reichmanis research group is currently exploring polymeric and hybrid organic/inorganic materials chemistries for electronic and photonic applications, plastic electronics in particular. To take full advantage of organic semiconductor technology, solution processed materials are required for conventional mass printing applications. This effort requires the development of compatible device materials and processes. Key to understanding the issues leading to the design of new materials and processes engineered to afford desired characteristics is an understanding of materials morphology in both thin films and single crystals. In particular, the former depends not only on inherent materials characteristics, but is also highly dependent upon the deposition process; vacuum vs solution, temperature (of deposition and anneals), molecular environment surrounding the films, etc. Studies related to the understanding of how materials processing impacts morphology and device performance are underway. In addition, how organic based semiconductors interact with the surfaces of other materials involved in device fabrication is important to defining semiconducting performance. Studies are underway to explore these issues and identify optimal materials sets.

Elsa Reichmanis was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1995 and has participated in several National Research Council (NRC) activities. She currently serves as a member of the NSF Math and Physical Sciences Advisory Committee, recently served as co-chair of the NRC Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology, and was a member of the Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). She is an elected member of the Bureau of the International Union for Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC). She has been active in the American Chemical Society throughout her career, having served as 2003 President of the Society. In other technical activities, she served as a member of the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board.

Elsa Reichmanis is the recipient of several awards, including named university lectureships. She was presented with the 1993 Society of Women Engineers Achievement Award and in 1995, was named Bell Laboratories Fellow. She is the 1996 recipient of the ASM Engineering Materials Achievement Award, she was elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1998, and was awarded the ACS Award in Applied Polymer Science in 1999. In 2001, she was the recipient of the Society of Chemical Industry's Perkin Medal and the Arents Medal from Syracuse University. In 2002, she was elected Fellow of the Polymer Materials Division of the American Chemical Society and in 2003 she was the recipient of the first Braude Award from the ACS Maryland local section. In 2004 she was elected as a Foreign Member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences, in 2005 was named Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, and was named ACS Fellow in 2009. She is also a member of the Materials Research Society, and is associate editor of the ACS Journal, Chemistry of Materials.