Press Release

MEMC Wafers Critical to NASA’S Genesis Mission

By SpaceRef Editor
July 30, 2001
Filed under , ,

MEMC Electronic
Materials, Inc. today announced that several hundred of
its silicon wafers will be carried into space aboard the NASA
spacecraft “Genesis”.

The spacecraft, which is scheduled to launch from Kennedy Space
Center, will orbit between the Earth and the Sun for two years. MEMC
silicon wafers, configured in a series of “Collector Arrays,” will
unfurl at various intervals and collect solar wind. This pure solar
matter, in the form of high velocity ions, will embed into the wafers.
The spacecraft will then return to Earth where analysis is expected to
provide a wide range of data. By analyzing these ions, scientists hope
to determine the Sun’s actual chemical composition – thus enabling
them to extrapolate the formation of other planets. “Genesis – Search
for Origins,” part of NASA’s Discovery program, is managed by the Jet
Propulsion Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology.

Silicon, traditionally used as the substrate upon which nearly all
semiconductor devices are manufactured, was chosen as the ideal
collection material because of its ability to radiate heat and because
of its high purity levels. Therefore, the success of the mission rests
almost entirely on the performance of MEMC’s wafers. Don Burnett,
Principal Investigator and Lead Scientist, California Institute of
Technology, led the NASA team to MEMC’s St. Peters Plant where the
wafers were processed. “The quality of MEMC silicon wafers both in
terms of purity and in terms of surface cleanliness was a key to
getting Genesis selected by NASA. We ended up with a very challenging
mechanical design for the wafer shape, but MEMC went the extra mile to
meet our requirements, producing a product that met very tight
mechanical specifications. MEMC has played a major role in getting
Genesis off the ground”, said Burnett.

Dr. John De Luca, MEMC’s Corporate Vice President – Technology,
commented, “MEMC is proud to have participated in such an important
way in a major NASA project that will collect unique and very valuable
information about our solar system and the universe around us.”

MEMC is a leading worldwide producer of silicon wafers for the
semiconductor industry. Silicon wafers are the fundamental building
block from which almost all semiconductor devices are manufactured,
such as computers, mobile electronic devices, automobiles, and other
consumer and industrial products. Headquartered in St. Peters, MO,
MEMC operates manufacturing facilities directly or through joint
ventures in every major semiconductor manufacturing region throughout
the world, including Europe, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan and
the United States.


MEMC Electronic Materials, Inc.

Brett W. Avants

Director, Marketing Communications



Morgen-Walke Associates

Corey Cutler/Michael Polyviou

Press: Brian Maddox


SpaceRef staff editor.