UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering
University of California San Diego

Cymer Celebrates 20 Years, Beginning at UCSD

Cymer co-founders Bob Akins, left, and Rick Sandstrom met as UCSD students more than 30 years ago and their 20-year-old company now employs nearly 1,000 people worldwide.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, Cymer hosted 400 employees at the UCSD Price Center January 7 as the co-founders paid tribute to their UCSD heritage. The San Diego-based company, now the leading provider of deep ultraviolet (DUV) light sources used in semiconductor manufacturing, traces its roots to a friendship that began between Bob Akins (Ph.D. '83) and Rick Sandstrom (Ph.D. '79) at UCSD.

Akins and Sandstrom started Cymer in 1986 with a vision that the short wavelength of light from deep ultraviolet eximer lasers could be used in photolithography systems to image much smaller circuits onto semiconductors. Working on a shoestring budget, the partners tested their theories on laser prototypes they built on nights and weekends at UCSD's machine shop. The end result continues to be the core technology for Cymer.

“You could say that UCSD was our first angel investor,” jokes Cymer CEO and Chairman Akins, who says the first check cut by the fledgling company was to reimburse the UCSD machine shop for parts and labor.

Today Cymer is a powerhouse in the semiconductor industry. Virtually every consumer electronic device on the market—from laptops to cell phones, and even automobiles—contains a semiconductor manufactured with a Cymer light source.

At the company's celebration, Cymer announced a $175,000 gift that will support engineering students entering UCSD in fall 2006.The Jacobs School Pascal Didier Undergraduate Scholarship is named in memory of Cymer's late former president and COO. The Jacobs School S.C. Lin Graduate Scholarship was dedicated to mechanical and aerospace engineering professor emeritus S.C. Lin, who advised Sandstrom and Akins, and employed them in his research lab. Cymer's gift is part of the Jacobs School Scholars program, an effort to attract and retain extraordinary faculty and students.

“Education is a crucial stepping-stone in the development of tomorrow's technological advancements. We are thrilled to have this opportunity to invest in future engineers,” says Akins.

Related Links
News Release: Cymer pledges $175,000 in scholarships to Jacobs School. 1/10/06
Website: Cymer Home Page
Website: Corporate Affiliates Program
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