“I’ve seen Moore’s law in action… it still blows my mind”, with Craig Rosslee

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Craig Rosslee is Technical Director at Lam Research, a semiconductor capital equipment manufacturing company. Lam Research Corporation is an international supplier of some of the most innovative wafer fabrication equipment and services for the semiconductor industry. Prior to his work with Lam Research, Craig was a Senior Process Engineer for Intel Corporation, the Technical Manager/IMEC Assignee for Sokudo Co. LLC., and Etch Senior Project Manager for Applied Materials. He graduated from the University at Buffalo with a degree in chemical engineering and earned his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Semiconductor development: how being a process tool owner and process developer go hand in hand
  • How creative thinking enables Moore’s Law 
  • Controlling for critical particulate thresholds to improve yield and process uptime 
  • The unforgiving nature of fluorine based chemistry
  • Slit valve seals and elimination of particulate sources
  • The secret to tackling steep learning curves
  • Shrinking device size:  breaking thru the barrier of visible light wavelength
  • Extreme Ultraviolet (EUV) Lithography Scanners – the most complex equipment ever invented?
  • How to get paid to earn your Ph.D.
  • The best piece of advice Craig has received: the behavior you accept is the behavior you will receive 

In this episode…

What can you do to accumulate knowledge and experience in data analysis and chamber matching? When faced with a problem in the semiconductor industry, is it possible to build a better tool and process?

Craig Rosslee has some advice for novice engineers beginning in the industry: Get comfortable being uncomfortable and if you’re not struggling you’re not developing! Today, Craig is here to share his knowledge on delivering and managing complex products to listeners everywhere. 

In this episode of Makers of Our Future, Bill Sharratt of Darcoid is joined by Craig Rosslee, Technical Director and team lead for the Syndion GP platform at Lam Research, to discuss what exceptional leadership and engineering actually require. David describes his globe-spanning career in semiconductor lithography and etch tool development and the immense satisfaction from leading a creative cross-functional team. 


Resources Mentioned in this episode


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Episode Transcript

Intro  0:03  
Behind every great product is a great seal. Join us at the crossroads of preeminence, product design, engineering, seal mastery, and supply chain excellence, and to learn from the makers of our future.

Bill Sharratt  0:21  
Hello, and welcome to Makers of Our Future. Thanks for spending time with us today to hear from the people behind the products that are changing the world. And for conversations with leaders in the seal industry who are supporting that kind of success here at Darcoid. We decided to make this podcast as a store of knowledge, something searchable, that you can search up when you're looking to specify your next seal. Let's get started. I'm Bill Sharratt. I'm Senior Vice President of Business Development at Darcoid and I'm hosting for today. Our guest today he said reading from his script is Craig Rosslee. Dr. Craig Rosslee. Actually, Craig graduated from the University of Wisconsin Madison with a PhD in chemical engineering. Craig's engineering career is rooted in semiconductor manufacturing technologies, spanning from lithography to deep silicon edge. his current role is technical director at Lam Research, where he is team lead for the Xindian GP platform, which is Lam's next generation MEMS etching tool. Craig, welcome to the show. Yep. Thanks for having me. You bet you bet. And I should say, you're here because Dave Setton and recommended you he was on a few weeks ago and have good things to say about you. So I'm looking forward to the conversation. Excellent. So let's start with education. What got you into the game you're? You started in, in New York at Buffalo, right?

Craig Rosslee  2:03  
Yes. So basically, I graduated high school, I had no idea what I wanted to do. Yeah. I liked math and science. And so I was like, okay, I can do something. You know, math is sciency. But I also like money. So I was like, well, which of these gets paid the best? Well, engineering gets paid better than you know, being a chemist or a physicist. Okay. So, you know, I looked at the various engineering and it was like, Well, I liked Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, that must be a bunch of chemistry. So I went and started doing that. Turns out, it's not actually that much chemistry, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Bill Sharratt  2:39  
Excellent. And then you enjoyed it so much. You went into a Ph. D. program. You went, you went west, young man and to Wisconsin, right?

Craig Rosslee  2:49  
Yeah. Yeah, actually, it was more like, I started looking for jobs, and nothing really grabbed my attention. And I was enjoying school. So I was like, oh, let's do a few more years of school. And then the other nice thing about engineering is PhDs tend to be paid for. So you know, getting a PhD, I wasn't incurring any debt. It was, you know, I was actually getting a stipend for being a teaching assistant. So it was kind of a free thing to try out. Okay. And so I went off and you spent five years in Wisconsin, getting a PhD.

Bill Sharratt  3:22  
I know after that you kept going west to Portland. But Where's where's home? Where were you raised?

Craig Rosslee  3:29  
Well, I'm originally from South Africa. I'm born in Cape Town. And then when I was in high school, my family moved to upstate New York. neurotherapy target Springs area. And then you know, after that it was off to Buffalo because it was a state college and cheap and easy to afford. And then, you know, Wisconsin,

Bill Sharratt  3:49  
and I my my English family gives me a bad time for losing my English accent. But you lost your South African pretty really significantly. I wouldn't have picked it up. Yeah,

Craig Rosslee  3:58  
yeah. Well, you know, when you're in high school, and you're new, the new kid and you're trying to fit in, right doesn't help to have a strong accent.

Bill Sharratt  4:05  
Yeah. I hear. So PhD armed with a PhD. How did how did you get involved with Intel? That's a that's a heck of a starting position. Yeah. So

Craig Rosslee  4:19  
a bunch of people from my research group had started working at Intel had gone to Intel, you know, when they graduated, and so I was looking at, you know, places to work and I could work in the oil industry. And that was horrible places like Houston, Texas, or Duncan, Oklahoma. Or then, you know, my former lab mates have gone out to Intel, and they said, come out and take a look at Portland. And I went out there and it was amazing. And green. And I was like, oh, yeah, this sounds good. Yeah. So I went and, you know, started working at Intel.

Bill Sharratt  4:51  
Fantastic. So you went in as a senior Process Engineer. Is that right?

Craig Rosslee  4:57  
Yeah. Well, you started off as a junior processing engineer and then I managed to get a promotion. I thought the

Bill Sharratt  5:03  
PhD would get you straight into senior but but no, I guess not

Craig Rosslee  5:07  
know that. So in the Portland when they do so Portland's where Intel does it, technology development. And so everyone who's brought in there if they started a PhD, so they don't hire anyone non PhD. So you come in and even with a PhD, you're the new guy who knows nothing. You're the

Bill Sharratt  5:27  
green PhD. Okay, yep. So what was the learning curve? Like?

Craig Rosslee  5:33  
It was rough. So, so before, when I was actually interviewing for the position at Intel, the guy who was taking me around and showing me, you know, he said, specifically at the beginning of the day, he's like, everyone you talk to ask them about work life balance. And at the end of the day, he said, Look, here's my speech to you. You can have a life and time outside of work with your family and friends. Or you can work here. You can't do both. So yeah, yeah. And so I called up my friends. And I'm like, What the hell you getting the answer? They just ignore fee fees or bastards? You don't listen to him? Turns out he was 100%. Correct? Oh, yeah. But yeah, so I worked there for five years, and basically, they throw you into the fire. And you just you're trying to, you know, desperately keep your head above water, they throw new stuff at you. And in doing that, you learn just a huge amount. So I'd say, you know, I learned more in my first year at Intel than I did in five years of a PhD. So you know, it's good from that respect. It's bad from you know, the having a life outside of work, respect, and that's eventually why I left.

Bill Sharratt  6:54  
Yep. No, I could, I could see how that could grind a person down. Because it sounds like you, you said you'd like money. But it sounds like you didn't have any opportunity to spend it. Yeah. Yeah. So let's say you were in the lithography side, and you're you were you were your tool owner, what was the

Craig Rosslee  7:15  
so I was doing. So I was a tool owner, and also doing process development. So in the patterning area, the rule was everyone had to own a tool, and everyone had to own some aspect of the process. And then you kind of looked after both. And the idea was that, by knowing the tool and the process, you can build a better tool and process at the same time. Because the two, I mean, knowing the limitations of the tools, what allows you to know where to turn the process knob. So that they start. So in terms of development, so you start off with like an older tool, and then a quote, unquote, easier process layer. And then as you prove yourself to be good, they keep on throwing harder and harder stuff at you. So towards the end there, I wound up owning contacts, the contact layer, this is where you connect the interconnect to the transistor. And, you know, the node before that the person who had owned it, had, you know, develop the process and then had promptly quit because they were burnt out. The know, before that the same exact same thing had happened. It was just kind of known that you're going to take this you're gonna burn yourself out, and then you're going to do something else.

Bill Sharratt  8:32  
So you're standing on the shoulders of the person who burned out before you pretty much yeah, yeah. Okay. So it's incremental progress, right. So far as Intel's, your deliverable to Intel is right. It's, yeah. Okay. No, oh,

Craig Rosslee  8:49  
yeah. So we, you know, I started it was, I think, the 90 nanometer node. And then we did 65 nanometer and then 45 nanometer node, and now they're on like, I think, like four nanometers or three nanometers.

Bill Sharratt  9:03  
And just 10 times smaller. Yeah. Okay. So this is Moore's law. Right? And you're, you're in the home of Moore's law. What's that been like? I mean, it's it's relentless. Going back to memory, there was some talk about, oh, photolithography is going to stop when visible light is too big to etch anything meaningful pattern, anything meaningful. What was the big steps there?

Craig Rosslee  9:32  
Yeah, I mean, it started out it's, you know, you did eyeline and then 243 nanometer light then 193 nanometer light. And then I was doing what was, you know, it was going to be the last one and three nanometer light and we're going to hit a roadblock and then they did 193 nanometer immersion, which, when they first explained the concept to me, I was like, That's ridiculous. I mean, you've got a layer of water in between the lens and the wafer and the lenses Moving at like meters per second relative to the wafer, scanning over it. And it's like this will never work, but we made it work. And then if you know going on to double patterning where you pattern, one layer, layer, and then you offset things just a little bit and pattern that, you know, do the next pattern. And then eventually, it's like, okay, we're going to do UV, where we're using X rays, and, you know, do everything in a vacuum chamber. And, you know, that was always going to be 10 years out and was never going to work. And now it's in production. So it's, it's quite amazing.

Bill Sharratt  10:38  
Yeah, so I can only imagine meters per second, you got a fluid layer between the the light source, if you will, and the and the target. Is it stepping its way across, like moving, stopping, moving, stopping? Or is it just constantly moving?

Craig Rosslee  10:56  
No, it's, it's, it's going back and forth across the wafer. So it goes, you know, left or right, and then it hits the end and turns around and goes the other direction. So it's standing like a axis. Okay, along the wafer. And then, while it's scanning that s, you've got other optical elements that are standing up and down inside the scanner.

Bill Sharratt  11:18  
Yeah, can I can only imagine what what coordination was required to get that to work?

Craig Rosslee  11:27  
No, the lipo scanners are the most impressive pieces of equipment. I've, you know, I think in existence today. You cannot believe how much engineering goes into them. Especially the UV scanners. It's just amazing what they do.

Bill Sharratt  11:44  
And dream ultraviolet, does that right? Yeah. Yeah.

Craig Rosslee  11:47  
I mean, they see UV, it's really just X rays. They're 30 nanometer light. They're doing everything in high vacuum with reflection optics. It's just, it's madness. If you explained it to people, 10 years ago, they would tell you insane that to believe it would even work and

Bill Sharratt  12:06  
it's working. And here we are getting more and more devices per or die size, the dyes are shrinking. The wafer is producing many, many more times. Chips. I mean, yeah. It's all working in concert to to support the lifestyle that we're in right now. Right?

Craig Rosslee  12:26  
Yep. And so because of all this magic that we do, you can watch the Tick Tock video on your phone.

Bill Sharratt  12:31  
Right, right. Yeah, let's roll the clock back then, shall we? Yeah. So I hear vacuum. And that gets me interested from the seal perspective. We're switching to vacuum knowledge. When you were at Intel, or is that further along in your career?

Craig Rosslee  12:51  
That was further on. So okay. So after, you know, four and a half years at Intel, I was completely burned out, started looking for other jobs and then wound up joining Applied Materials. And so they're here in the Bay Area. Yep. And the at the time, they didn't do anything litho related. And they were starting a joint venture with a Japanese company called Dainippon screen to try and build litho tool, not the scanners, but the tracks, which cover the wafer and photoresist. And so they recruited me, I went to join them. And then I think, six months after joining, I went out to Belgium, to IMEC, where there was a research consortium, where we had placed a tool and my job was to kind of own the tool, make sure it stayed up and running, and then work with IMEC to generate materials that we could use to market the tool.

Bill Sharratt  13:52  
How long were you it was your rotation in Belgium?

Craig Rosslee  13:56  
I was there for two years.

Bill Sharratt  13:58  
Oh, wow. Okay. Nice. Getting closer to South Africa and home at that point, right?

Craig Rosslee  14:05  
Yeah, no, it was actually very nice. One of the big surprises was I went over and was considered a European employee. And they started 35 days of vacation and 12 public holidays. So yes, the two years I was there, the month of February I spent down in South Africa visiting family. Because you know, that's summer there. Yeah. Beautiful. Beautiful. So, you know, that was very pleasant.

Bill Sharratt  14:34  
Those European work rules can get very compelling. Can they? Yeah,

Craig Rosslee  14:41  
it was a very big culture shock. Because at Intel, you know, you're on the clock 24 by seven. Like literally I would get paged almost every night at some point in the night to have to deal with a problem. So when I went to iMac I put a big sign on the tool saying here's my number Call me anytime. was a problem. And I've come in after a weekend, and someone would have put a sign up saying, Go went down on Friday. It'll get fixed on Monday. And it just blew my mind.

Bill Sharratt  15:13  
Yeah, that is different scale completely. Yeah. According to LinkedIn, you're also working TSMC deployment or installation. Is that Is that right? So yeah, so

Craig Rosslee  15:26  
we got the tool up and running it iMac. We generated a bunch of material that then got companies around the world interested in buying them. And so one of them was TSMC. Okay. So they went and said, Okay, well demo one of your tools. And they're like, Okay, who's gonna support it? And they said, Well, you know, Craig did a good job and IMEC Let's send him out there to help with the install. So, you know, I, I was actually on vacation in South Africa. At the time I get a call from my boss. He says, Hey, we're doing this install. We'd like you to help out. You know, can you arrange travel when you get back? I'm like, Yeah, I don't know if my laptop but yes, once I get back, I'll arrange something. He goes, Oh, don't worry, don't worry, I'll take care of it. So I get home. 9pm, Sunday night, and then 6am. Monday morning, I'm on a plane to Taiwan. And then landed and just, you know, if you've ever worked with TSMC, they go nonstop as well. So I landed I spent 28 hours, sorry, 20 days in the lab at 8am to midnight every day. I got the tool up and running came home for a quick break, went back and did their process startup. And then, you know, after that they

Bill Sharratt  16:44  
were happy. Was that pinch you or Tai Chiang? Or? Yeah, that was in situ. Okay. Yep. Nice. Yeah, I used to pre COVID used to go to Taiwan a lot. We have a distribution center out there supporting our customers. high speed train going through the technology. So it takes a while to for that high speed train to get past the TSMC facility. It's it's Yeah, yeah. Spectacular. Well, I hope you enjoyed the culture, and the stinky tofu and the hotpot at least. Yeah, well,

Craig Rosslee  17:23  
the first few trips, I you know, is basically work and sleep. And but after that, I got to explore the island. I actually really liked Taiwan. You wouldn't know it. But we would always joke that, you know, we're sending you to a tropical island at the Pacific. Oh, it's Taiwan, and you're gonna live in a fab actually really is a tropical island in the Pacific. They've got really nice beaches. If you go on the east side to Turaco gorge. It's just spectacular. Yeah. But yeah, you've gotta go to the fab to do that.

Bill Sharratt  17:57  
Absolutely. Absolutely. Well, great deployment. Then you moved on from AMAT to Lam. Is that right? No. So

Craig Rosslee  18:08  
what happened is the joint venture, so the global recession hit. And so the joint venture between a mat and DNS fell apart. And so I moved back to the Bay Area. And that's when I made the switch over to ash. So I went from litho to etch and then again, you know, I got to go out to Taiwan to deal with tissues in Taiwan, working with a lot of the same people, which was kind of weird. And then, that basically, slowly, you know, I started off learning at that point, and started getting into data analytics. So our edge tools are heavily instrumented. We're collecting lots of data as we're entering the wafers. And so, you know, at one point, my boss was like, we need to figure out what to do with this data here. You figure this out. Yeah. So I started figuring it out and got pretty good at it. And that then at that point, Lam recruited me to help with a data analytics project they were starting

Bill Sharratt  19:11  
next month. So by that time, so you're familiar with that you've switched from total Agra fee which is less vacuum, if you will move to edge which is almost exclusively a vacuum processing environment, crown. Did you have to learn was it difficult translating what you knew? Or what is a lithography process and a an edge process quite similar? A wildly different no

Craig Rosslee  19:43  
wildly wildly different? Yeah. It's, it's almost like starting from ground zero again. So you know, I know the basics of what a transistor is, I understand that, you know, they care about things like particles and yield But how the echo chamber works is completely different. And you know, the sorts of things you have to worry about it, you know, it really is starting almost from zero again. So it was, I mean, I frankly found it very enjoyable. I enjoy learning new stuff. But there was a huge amount of learning that I had to do to get in to get good at it. Yeah,

Bill Sharratt  20:24  
yeah. So vacuum process chambers, feedthroughs, gate valves, and effectors. That's, that's where I have some knowledge from the elastomer fluoroelastomer, a seal side of things? Did you touch on seal technology at all?

Craig Rosslee  20:42  
At that point in my career, not so much. Yeah, that wasn't a part of the tool that I was touching at the time. All right. But now, so lately, you know, doing chamber development, that there I get to, you know, touch on this a little bit more. So my current chamber, the Symbian GP chamber, you know, we've got all these parts that stack together, and we've got to seal them up. And they've got to, you know, withstand all sorts of corrosive gases and high temperatures. And, I mean, we rarely do terrible stuff inside our chamber. And the fact that they hold up and don't, you know, disintegrate almost immediately is somewhat amazing.

Bill Sharratt  21:28  
You know, a lot of technical development, right. That's the real leading edge of a lot of seal elastomeric polymer technology is the resisting process as long as possible. When it does break down, it's got to break down clean, I mean, we touched on particulate and so on. And device size, what, what are your thresholds for, you know, the Chamber needs taking down and cleaning at this point, because so,

Craig Rosslee  22:00  
that very much depends on exactly what technology you're working on. So TSMC is kind of leading edge process they're doing I think, like three or two nanometer processes right now. You know, five, actually, seven, eight years ago, now, when I was working on there with them on like, 10 nanometer stuff. They were looking for particles 20 nanometers in size and above. And if you had one particle, every two wafers, at that point, the chamber was no good. And you had to pull it apart and clean it.

Bill Sharratt  22:35  
Just one, one or two wafer process cycle. Yeah. Wow.

Craig Rosslee  22:43  
So and, I mean, and fixing a chamber with that sort of thing? I mean, where do you even start? It's

Bill Sharratt  22:53  
because you got to remove particles, you got to you've got to clean it, right?

Craig Rosslee  22:57  
Yeah. And so at that point, I mean, if so, it's easy if you get 100 particles on the wafer, because then you can start to look at patterns and say, Okay, it looks like it's coming from, you know, this parts rubbing or so on. When you've got one particle every other wafer, then it gets incredibly challenging. And so we'll do things like, you know, cycle away for 10 100 times, try and build a pattern, or, you know, take a whole boat of wafers, and then run them through and look at all of them and stack it up. They also do compositional analysis for any particles. So we'll put it in the SAM look at what it's made of, and then try and identify culprit. And a lot of times, it's just, you know, something rubbing in the chamber. And, you know, you look at it, it looks perfect, but just a little bit of rubbing and you know, there's a 20 nanometer particle and your wafer.

Bill Sharratt  23:55  
And so it's identifying the source of the product, I guess that once you've done the analysis, it could still come from any number of components, right? Yeah.

Craig Rosslee  24:06  
There's a lot of times you get it, as you know, the the particle thicknesses will show up and it's like, silicon, carbon, fluorine. Well, I mean, that's half the stuff in the chamber, right? You got your silicon wafer, all your seals are, you know, carbon, fluorine, maybe some silicon as well.

Bill Sharratt  24:24  
So, yeah, yeah, I remember the transition on the slit valve dual which was the gate that opens and closes to allow the wafer to go in. That used to be an O ring and a groove. A dovetail groove, and I don't know if you you were around or familiar at the time, but that was all rubbing all the time. And it was usually just a simple fKM not even fully fluorinated and when the industry transition to seal element bonded to that aluminum door, it It dropped articulation by orders of magnitude overnight. It was it was a tremendous technology at the time. Yeah, that was gross kind of articulation, and then you're getting down to such more. Such a fine level. That's that's gonna be a bloody nightmare, Craig?

Craig Rosslee  25:18  
Yeah. Yeah. And I mean, a lot of what we've done, as we've transitioned from trying to, you know, identify these things and stop them to, you know, we'll do things to actually gather all the particles in a chamber and, you know, either stick them to walls or flush them down through the vacuum system. So it's more than just, you know, let's stop this thing rubbing. It's, How do we code it up? So that, you know, anything that does Rob get stuck to something? How do we change the way we run the wafer? So, I mean, we're running a plasma, which will suspend all the particles above the wafer, if you just turn it off, then they drop onto the wafers. And now we do things like a slow ramp down of the plasma. So it gives it time to

Bill Sharratt  26:03  
wash stuff out. So that's some real leaps in approach there, right? Yep. You've got to get pretty. You got to be able to think outside the box, right? Yeah. So how do you foster that creativity and that being able to say, Hey, how about we do it completely the other way around? You know? How do you get an environment where you can make culture that fosters that,

Craig Rosslee  26:33  
I mean, I, it tends to come a lot from the top. So actually, the organization I'm in right now is probably the most creative one I've been in. Because the VP who's running the organization is he encourages everyone to throw out your stupid, wild ideas. And, you know, you'll throw out your dumb idea, and then we'll be like, That's dumb. And we'll talk about and be like, Okay, maybe it's not so dumb. Okay, let's give it a try. But, you know, there's no downside in the organization to, you know, suggesting something dumb or trying something and failing, which, you know, is is very freeing, it allows you to do so much more and try so many stupid ideas that wound up actually working and doing things that we just didn't think were possible.

Bill Sharratt  27:23  
Now, that's great. I was thinking of an analogue here that I'm enjoying we, we, we build our own test bench facility here, which is kind of unusual for a company of our size, and it allows us we can fast prototype molded shapes, we can baseline we can play with them, we can really pull some good data on performance, before we take it to the customer level and proposes a solution. So we do a lot of pre where am I going with this? I think it allows us to be as creative as as you can possibly be, and really understand the results of that creativity. So yeah, I get what you're saying. That's, that's really cool. And I guess you're from the land of musk, where the best part is no part, the best process is no process. Is some of that creeping into the thought process?

Craig Rosslee  28:17  
You mean, how do we simplify stuff and make it easier? Yeah. I mean, we're constantly trying to make things simpler. The problem is that our goal posts are constantly moving as well, right? So you know, I figured out a way to do something simpler today. But you know, the customer doesn't want that. He wants what he you know, he wants tomorrow. So, inevitably, our tools are getting more and more complicated. We're adding more and more knobs to the tool and more and more things to break down. And so, I mean, as engineers, we all want it as simple as possible. But to deliver what we need to we just keep on adding complexity on top of complexity. Which is, is a challenge to real talents to manage?

Bill Sharratt  29:08  
Yeah, so your product, the memes, right? That the end users looking for more more capability, more functionality from a smaller piece of silicon, right? So I can only am and those are moving parts? Yes.

Craig Rosslee  29:23  
Yes. Yeah, the MEMS is if you talk to the guys who are making like your logic chip, they'll say, okay, man, this is easier, because it's all bigger stuff. But, you know, having done both, I can tell you, it's, it's not any easier. It's just different challenges. So in the mem space, you know, we're not as worried about particles, because our features are bigger. But you know, I've got customers asking me telling me they want to etch away for 20 microns a minute. The logic guys are actually etching a 20 angstrom to the minute you know that those are very Are you different challenges?

Bill Sharratt  30:00  
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Wow. So you've developed a tremendous amount of experience. You've built on knowledge that you've experienced that you've you've picked up along the way? How does someone starting out in the field? How does someone look at you where you're at now? And not go? Uh, how could I ever accumulate that kind of knowledge and experience? Or what would you say to someone who's considering this, this as a career path?

Craig Rosslee  30:34  
I mean, I would say that the key thing, if you want to get all this experience is you need to spend the early part of your year of your career. Always in a uncomfortable, like, you're almost over your head sort of feeling. So if you're, what you're doing is feeling easy, and, you know, you kind of know what you're doing, then it's time to move on and pick tougher challenges, or, you know, pick a different company that's going to give you tougher challenges. You know, learning all this stuff, you know, it's exciting. But it can also be a little unpleasant when you're thrown handed something, and you're told to make it work. And you look at it and go, Oh, my God, I have no idea what to do. Yes. Yeah. And yes, struggling, like that is the absolute best way to learn stuff.

Bill Sharratt  31:23  
No, that's that's a good perspective. So it's like, if you're not feeling pressure, you're not, you're not developing, right? Yeah. Very good. Do you deal with interns to work with interns, because that's obvious, obviously, great way for you to look at potential employees and vice versa.

Craig Rosslee  31:46  
Yeah, I've had some interns come and go. The other thing we have is a company has a new hire rotation program, where they, like they take recruit a bunch of what they consider a high potential graduate, and then give them you know, six months, three, six months blocks in different areas, to go ahead, and, you know, try these different areas and figure out what they want to do. So, you know, I work a lot with those people and the the interns, I must say, they've all been amazing. I'm amazed at their work ethic, and you know, what they come in knowing. And, you know, I throw them challenges, I try to keep things difficult, but not too difficult for them. And, you know, the feedback I've always gotten from them is, this is great. Can I come and work with you full time afterwards? So I think I'm doing something right there.

Bill Sharratt  32:45  
Now nice. And talking to Dave set. And he did say it was a surprisingly competitive environment to be picked up as a as an intern at Lam. So clearly, a pinnacle that people are recognizing and valuing and wanting to be a part of, yeah. Excellent. Do you have any involvement? Or what would you say when, and I were talking before the show you, you mentioned, the only time you know about seals is when they're not working? Who do you go to when there is a problem with or a challenge with a sale.

Craig Rosslee  33:27  
I mean, the first place I'd go to is the my mechanical engineering team. So on our team, we have people whose job it is to know about fields and to, you know, be able to suggest which one is the right one to go to use for a specific problem. And then those guys, I mean, they're working on lots of other things. So this is a fault. They have some knowledge, but you know, not a ton. So if we're really going to extend, and, you know, try and do something beyond what they know, at that point, we'll pull in the manufacturer of this deal and talk with them and, you know, kind of work our way up the food chain, to find the guy who knows what, you know, can help us with that problem. Right?

Bill Sharratt  34:13  
And are you? Are you ever wheeled into those conversations? Is that the PhD in chemistry that that can talk turkey at that level?

Craig Rosslee  34:25  
Thankfully, no. Yeah, so, you know, I'm a chemical engineer, not a cannabis. So it's surprising how little chemistry I actually know. I mean, I can just set up a distillation column. But in terms of, you know, figuring out how to create something, you know, which products to use and so on. Yeah.

Bill Sharratt  34:48  
It is a very specialized field, that's for sure. Yeah. People just say, oh, put an O ring in there. And then what kind Well, a rubber one, it's like it it's yeah, that's that's a lot of technology and specialty and in well, any of these components that that are major components of chambers, right? Yeah, no,

Craig Rosslee  35:11  
nothing we do is simple. You know, every single thing we do, there's, you know, it's reached the point where you've got everything has to you get you have to get the details right on everything. Yeah, you know, even anodization on aluminum part that, you know, that used to be dead simple, right? Well now we've got all these detailed specs about, you know, you've got to do it this way. It's got to meet these criteria, because we've learnt these things the hard way that you know, you can't just dunk it in the bath and go okay, it looks black. Good enough.

Bill Sharratt  35:41  
Yeah. Cuz you're constantly chasing particular and you need to look it down. Right? Yeah.

Craig Rosslee  35:47  
And the chemistry is we work with I just horrendous. I mean, for silicon ash, we're using fluorine based chemistry. I mean, you could put sand in the chamber, and it'll eat the sand. So, yeah, if you don't have the right stuff, it's, it's not going to survive.

Bill Sharratt  36:05  
very unforgiving. Yes, yeah. So thinking on your career, what stands out the something you're real proud of your biggest achievement, whether it's technical, or milestones. As you as you reflect on where you've been?

Craig Rosslee  36:25  
Yep. I mean, I would say the stuff I've been doing recently, I'm doing chamber development, leading a team that does chamber development has been incredibly, incredibly satisfying. You know, taking something from where, you know, the marketing guys come to us and say, hey, I want a chamber that's going to do XYZ, and you go, but that's impossible, right? To sitting with a team figuring out, you know, throwing these wild ideas against the wall. And then, you know, two years later you, you deliver this thing, and they go, Oh, wow, this, this is meeting everything I want. And then the customers are buying it. I mean, that's my baby out there in the world, and people are praising it. So

Bill Sharratt  37:10  
Fantastic I'd say that's, yeah. And a whole new chamber. Platform. That's a biggie. I mean, yeah, there's so much that goes into that.

Craig Rosslee  37:21  
Yeah. And to be clear, we don't, it's not completely new ground up. Everything we do is we're starting with, you know, the previous iteration of it, and we're adding stuff to it. So, you know, the current chamber, probably only 25% of his brand new. But still, I mean, this thing is incredibly complicated. And 25% is, you know, it's a team of, you know, 15 people working for a year and a half

Bill Sharratt  37:48  
full bore. Yeah. Now, fantastic. Shout out to Lam. As an organization as a culture, why wouldn't an end? Why would an engineer be crazy not to consider joining Lam? What is it about Lam? That's great.

Craig Rosslee  38:08  
I mean, the culture is definitely, definitely a big part of that Lam, it's, you know, they're a very data driven organization, it's much more data driven than some of the other places I've worked at. So. And it's, I mean, it's tough, challenging problems, it's not boring. You know, the absolute worst thing for me is sitting around bored, I can't deal with it, I always find something to do. And working at Lam, you know, our customers are always giving us tougher problems, and we're always trying to solve them. And you never know, you know what the solution is, or even if there is a solution, so you're going in there, and you're trying new stuff every day. So, you know, that's just incredibly satisfying and enjoyable.

Bill Sharratt  38:59  
Excellent, good. How before my last question, how should someone contact you, or if you open to contact to learn more about Lam or directions to a website? How do you want to play that, Craig? I mean,

Craig Rosslee  39:17  
so I'm not a people manager at all. I'm a technical guy. So if you're looking to get hired, I'm the wrong person to talk to. Yeah. Because I'm gonna say, Hey, I, you know, I'm not hiring anyone. I would actually point them to Dave Setton, because He's my manager, and he's the one doing the hiring. Okay. But if they're interested in talking to me about what's it like at Lam, I've got my LinkedIn profile. Craig Rosslee, just, you know, search LinkedIn, Craig Rosslee Lam Research, and you'll find it. And I'm happy to answer questions there. But you know, I've just got to tell you, you should apply to Lam and, you know, give it a shot.

Bill Sharratt  39:57  
Absolutely. I wanted to throw that out there. For you, all right, yeah. Here's the last question. In technology and life, we stand on the shoulders of giants, right? The people that have come before us, as you reflect, who gave you the best advice that's gotten you where you are today? And, you know, what is it? What what would what would be a good old nugget to pass on to those coming up? Right now? Um,

Craig Rosslee  40:28  
I mean, I think it would maybe be my dad, who told me, you know, the behavior you accept is the behavior you're going to get. So, if you put up with, you know, people not meeting on commitments, you're training them that they don't need to meet their commitments. If you put up with someone who's, you know, being unpleasant to you, you're training them that they can do that and get away with it. So, you know, kind of, you know, stand up for yourself, call out bad behavior, call out good behavior. And, you know, you'll find yourself in a better working environment.

Bill Sharratt  41:08  
rules to live by can't go wrong with that. That's great. Is there anything that we missed in this conversation that you'd like to touch on? Craig, I really enjoyed the ground that we've covered. Yeah.

Craig Rosslee  41:22  
No, I mean, I think I just want to stress again, you know, as a young engineer, you should be pushing yourself and trying new things. And, you know, live in that slightly uncomfortable zone, because in the end, it pays off pretty nicely. And, you know, you're gonna learn a lot by doing that.

Bill Sharratt  41:39  
Fantastic. Well, on that note, I think we'll wrap it. Craig, thank you so much for your conversation today. We'd never met before the podcast, I was a little nervous about that. I really enjoy getting to know you. It's been a pleasure.

Craig Rosslee  41:54  
Yeah. And thanks for inviting me on the podcast. It's been it's been fun.

Bill Sharratt  41:58  
You're all thank you and to our viewer, and listener, thank you for listening, and we'll see you next time. Thank you very much.

Outro  42:09  
Thanks for listening to the Makers of Our Future podcast. Behind every great product is a great seal. Learn more about how we can help at That's The best seal on time zero defects. Darcoid.

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