Making Interconnects Faster


In integrated circuits, interconnect resistance is a combination of wire and via resistance. Wire resistance of a conductor depends on several factors, one of which is the electron scattering at various surfaces and grain boundaries. Via resistance, on the other hand, is a function of the thickness or resistivity of the layers at the bottom of the via through which current must travel. T... » read more

Enabling Magnetic Tunnel Junctions Array Processing For Embedded STT MRAM


The semiconductor industry is entering a new era of next-generation memory technologies, with several major inflections taking shape. Among these is the emergence of Magnetic RAM (MRAM). Over several posts, I’ll provide background on what is driving the adoption of MRAM, highlight some of the initial challenges and discuss progress on making STT MRAM commerically viable. Today, a typical m... » read more

What’s New On The MEMS Horizon?


In my previous blog post, I discussed emerging trends and the increased demand for MEMS; now I’ll focus on what we can expect in the immediate future in terms of new device technologies and MEMS-enabled products. While the more well-known MEMS such as accelerometers, gyroscopes, microphones and pressure sensors continue to grow in volume as they find new applications in things like wire... » read more

What’s Up MEMS?


Strong segment growth. A whole slew of new devices on the horizon. A healthy pipeline of enabling critical problems to be solved. Has somebody been peeking at my Christmas list? Possibly yes, and thankfully so, because 2016 has been that kind of year in MEMS. Taking a look at the numbers from Yole Developpement, they expect 2016 MEMS device segment revenue to be around $13B, with an estimate... » read more

Human Factors In Automation Software


The semiconductor industry offers some of the most advanced manufacturing environments featuring sophisticated automation and cutting-edge process controls. A typical day in a fab revolves around the production of billions of highly complex, extremely small structures where even the tiniest variations can impact device performance. Even though these production processes are highly automated, te... » read more

China Ramps Up Power IC Manufacturing


In addition to changes in power devices being implemented to meet market trends that I discussed in previous posts, there are significant shifts taking place in the locations where these components are manufactured. Over the past 10 years, we’ve seen an increase in power device manufacturing in China, Europe and South East Asia and a subsequent drop off in North America. If we look at ... » read more

Will III-V Power Devices Happen?


In a previous blog post, I provided a review of the overall power device market and trends driving changes in device evolution that entail materials innovation. For the industry to make such a shift, the advantages over mature, low-cost silicon technologies must be compelling and something the industry absolutely has to implement. Now I’d like to focus on new materials offering competitive be... » read more

Fins And Wires – How Do We Get To 5nm?


As the industry moves beyond 10nm to the 7nm and 5nm nodes, fundamental shifts are needed to address scaling challenges. Among the priority concerns driving industry changes, particularly with respect to materials and architecture, is the impact on transistor performance from rising parasitic resistance and parasitic capacitance or RC. I spoke about this industry dilemma recently at the SEMICON... » read more

Material And Process Challenges In A Changing Memory Landscape


Moore’s Law has fueled the semiconductor industry’s growth for decades. But as the complexity of scaling increases, extending the economics of Moore’s Law is becoming a challenge. One example illustrating the challenges of maintaining the economic benefits of Moore’s Law is the difficulty of IC chip patterning. Today, this requires an expensive litho scanner, a complicated spacer and... » read more

Overcoming RC In Memory Scaling


In a memory device, Ohmic contacts (semiconductor-to-metal interfaces) connect the active region and the metal wiring. To achieve rapid and maximal charge transmission across the Ohmic contact, a low-resistivity material is used. Low-resistivity Co silicide has been adopted as the industry standard for this purpose; its effectiveness relies on the deposition of a sufficiently thick layer to for... » read more

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