Awardee Interviews | Biography: Marilyne Sousa

Marilyne Sousa

Marilyne Sousa, IBM Research Zurich, “For establishing the first online utilization of a TEM platform infrastructure across the Atlantic, thereby enabling a first-of-its kind online sharing of large research infrastructure”

Marilyne Sousa is a senior engineer at IBM Research Europe Zurich (Switzerland). She provides technical support to various projects within the “Science and Technology” and the “Cloud and AI Systems Research” departments, and is responsible for the spectroscopic ellipsometer (SE), the X-Ray diffractometer (XRD), and the transmission electron microscope (TEM) infrastructure.

She received a master’s degree in Optics and Photonics from the University of Orsay (France) in 1998. After a stay in the failure analysis laboratory of Altis Semiconductor, an IBM-Infineon joint venture, where she performed SE characterization, she moved to IBM Research Europe in 2000. Since then, she has worked on various projects, spanning III-V on silicon platform and novel neuromorphic devices, and participated to the development of hafnium dioxide mixed with rare-earths, which was implemented into the 22 nm technology node.

In Zurich, she has contributed to develop SE-based characterizations and XRD. In 2011, when IBM Research Zurich and the renowned technical university of Zurich (ETHZ) inaugurated the Binning and Rohrer Nanotechnology Center (BRNC), she helped to evaluate new tools for the BRNC and took up a new challenge: launching a TEM platform in one of the noise-free laboratories. After a proper training, benefitting from support of TEM experts from EMPA (Marta Rossell) and IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center (Lynne Gignac and John Bruley), she became a TEM instructor herself. Today, she routinely provides TEM and EDX analyses, while maintaining and developing expertise with other characterization tools.

To enlarge the TEM use and strengthen collaborative work across the globe, she assembled a team of engineers to design an on-line link between IBM Research laboratories in Zurich and Yorktown (upstate New York). The time difference permits a 24h operation of the TEM infrastructure, provided a sample is loaded at the end of the day in Zurich.
Establishing such a link across the Atlantic was of course interesting but also technically challenging, as performing remote TEM sample alignment and analysis requires a meticulous control of any source of noise and data transmission delay, especially in view of the very high data transmission rates.

This remote microscopy solution allows researchers with diverse technical skills and interests to collaborate in a live, worldwide virtual laboratory, which leverages infrastructure and equipment in a single location.
Next, Marilyne designed a tool reservation platform and set up an internal online tools webpage to optimize the utilization of existing set-ups and make them available to more users.

More recently, she began to explore machine learning algorithms for defect classification in TEM.

Marilyne’s close collaboration with colleagues, within or outside IBM, have led to many publications and a few patent applications.

During her spare time, Marilyne enjoys reading, hiking, doing handicraft or playing sports with her two kids.


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