John Frostad

Postdoctoral Researcher

Spokane, Washington

PhD Chemical Engineering, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2012.
BS with Distinction Chemical Engineering, University of Washington, 2006.

Research Focus

Silicon Wafer Cleaning Technology

wafer cleaning

Computer microchips have to be made in a really clean environment and a significant effort must be made during manufacturing to prevent contamination. As the size of transistors and other features continue to decrease, the requirements for cleanliness become more strict. We are working on developing the fundamental understanding for a new cleaning technology that will be more effective at removing small particles and does not require toxic chemicals that are harmful to the environment.

The key to the new technology (being developed by LAM Research) is to first coat the silicon wafer with a special, water-based cleaning liquid and then rinse it off by with water while simultaneously spinning the wafer, like a really fast record player. One of the things that we are trying to understand in particular is how the spinning helps improve the cleaning process. If we can explain how this works, then the cleaning technology can be implemented in manufacturing to increase yields and reduce environmental impact.

Advancing New Medicines

Developing new active ingredients for medicine is becoming more challenging as the need for more complex molecules involved in targeted therapeutics increases. Many of the promising molecules are proteins are surface active and collect at air/water interfaces that are unavoidable during manufacturing. This has been found to result in the aggregation of the proteins which makes the molecules unusable.

In order to enable the development of these promising new drug molecules it is essential to understand this aggregation process. We are working on a new experimental setup for that can induce and monitor the aggregation process in a controlled environment. With these experiments we should be able to quantitatively measure the tendency for aggregation. These measurements can then be used to screen problematic molecules and formulate the protein solutions to prevent aggregation.