The Father of Ion Implantation
A conversation with Peter H. Rose, Ph.D., on the history Ion Implantation, its development and business challenges. Ion Implant is a critical step in the semiconductor process, as it is used to precisely control the electrical characteristics of the transistor by implanting a specific number of ions into the surface of a silicon wafer. Dr. Rose is the father of Ion Implantation because he made it a commercial business success, founding the two companies that are the direct lineage of the modern tools used in fabs today. Like any start-up visionary/entrepreneur, it wasn’t easy and was fraught with failure. Dr. Rose describes this early history from a leadership perspective that starts when he was president of Ion Physics Corporation. In 1971, he founded Extrion which was a division of Varian (at this writing, part of Applied Materials). Varian brought the funding prowess and Peter brought the technical expertise for Extrion to be one of the first to profitably monetize the early ion implant market. Then in a story, not unlike the Fairchild brain-drain, he left in 1978 to start-up Nova Associates (now Axcelis Corporation) to build high current ion implanters. The dominance of these two companies is also a story of regional strength, as it all happened on the far north North Shore of Boston between Beverly and Gloucester, MA. Dr. Rose’s two companies beat out competitors in Texas, Europe and Japan.