Yuka Esashi named as 2021 recipient of Nick Cobb Memorial Scholarship

The award honors the memory of the SPIE senior member and Mentor chief engineer
10 December 2020
Yuka Esashi named as 2021 recipient of Nick Cobb Memorial Scholarship
Esashi, next to the phase-sensitive EUV imaging reflectometry beamline.

BELLINGHAM, Washington, USA — Yuka Esashi has been announced as the 2021 recipient of the $10,000 Nick Cobb Memorial Scholarship by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, and Mentor Graphics, a Siemens Business, for her potential contributions to the field related to advanced lithography. 

The Nick Cobb scholarship recognizes an exemplary graduate student working in the field of lithography for semiconductor manufacturing. The award honors the memory of Nick Cobb, who was an SPIE Senior Member and chief engineer at Mentor. His groundbreaking contributions enabled optical and process proximity correction for IC manufacturing. As was planned with the original funding for the Nick Cobb Scholarship, this third scholarship will also be the final one.

Esashi is pursuing her PhD in physics at the University of Colorado Boulder in the Kapteyn-Murnane group. She is co-lead of a research team that is addressing much-needed advances in metrology techniques for the semiconductor industry, where techniques with high resolution, fidelity and sensitivity are needed. With her team, Esashi has developed phase-sensitive EUV imaging reflectometry, a novel technique which combines computational imaging with EUV reflectometry to measure depth-dependent chemical composition of semiconductor samples in a spatially-resolved and non-destructive manner. In her current research, she is planning on applying this technique to a wider range of next-generation structures and materials. Esashi received her BA in Physics from Reed College in 2017, and her MS in Physics from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2019.

"It is an honor to receive the Nick Cobb Memorial Scholarship in recognition of my work on developing novel semiconductor metrology techniques," says Esashi. "There is a great amount of innovation in the field of advanced lithography when it comes to tackling challenging scientific and technological questions, and it's a truly exciting and rewarding area to be working in. The award strongly motivates me to continue my work on refining and improving our technique of EUV imaging reflectometry, and I am looking forward to presenting it at future SPIE conferences."

"We are pleased to again be collaborating with SPIE to award the third annual Nick Cobb Memorial Scholarship to Ms. Yuka Esashi," said Mentor Vice President of Product Management Steffen Schulze. "The scholarship honors Nick's fundamental work in the field of lithography and his many contributions as the chief architect of Mentor's Calibre OPC solutions. Yuka's work at the University of Colorado under Professors Kapteyn and Murnane on phase-sensitive EUV imaging reflectometry enables actinic nondestructive compositional and topographic metrology which may be very useful as EUV lithography is increasingly utilized in semiconductor manufacturing. We are proud to continue this legacy of promoting innovation and engineering talent, and Ms. Esashi's research is particularly promising for meeting our industry's challenges for advanced nodes."

Mentor, a Siemens business, is a world leader in electronic hardware and software design solutions, providing products, consulting services, and award-winning support for the world's most successful electronic, semiconductor, and systems companies.

About SPIE

SPIE is the international society for optics and photonics, an educational not-for-profit organization founded in 1955 to advance light-based science, engineering, and technology. The Society serves more than 258,000 constituents from 184 countries, offering conferences and their published proceedings, continuing education, books, journals, and the SPIE Digital Library. In 2020, SPIE provided over $5 million in community support including scholarships and awards, outreach and advocacy programs, travel grants, public policy, and educational resources. www.spie.org.

Daneet Steffens
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