Interconnect Challenges Rising


Chipmakers are ramping up their 14nm finFET processes, with 10nm and 7nm slated to ship possibly later this year or next. At 10nm and beyond, IC vendors are determined to scale the two main parts of the [getkc id="185" kc_name="finFET"] structure—the transistor and interconnects. Generally, transistor scaling will remain challenging at advanced nodes. And on top of that, the interconnects ... » read more

The Trouble With MEMS


The advent of the Internet of Things will open up a slew of new opportunities for MEMS-based sensors, but chipmakers are proceeding cautiously. There are a number of reasons for that restraint. Microelectromechanical systems are difficult to design, manufacture and test, which initially fueled optimism in the MEMS ecosystem that this market would command the same kinds of premiums that analo... » read more

How To Make 3D NAND


In 2013, Samsung reached a major milestone in the IC industry by shipping the world’s first 3D NAND device. Now, after some delays and uncertainty, Intel, Micron, SK Hynix and the SanDisk/Toshiba duo are finally ramping up or sampling 3D NAND. 3D NAND is the long-awaited successor to today’s planar or 2D NAND, which is used in memory cards, solid-state storage drives (SSDs), USB flash dr... » read more

ALD Market Heats Up


Amid the shift to 3D NAND, finFETs and other device architectures, the atomic layer deposition (ALD) market is heating up on several fronts. Applied Materials, for example, recently moved to shakeup the landscape by rolling out a new, high-throughput ALD tool. Generally, [getkc id="250" kc_name="ALD"] is a process that deposits materials layer-by-layer at the atomic level, enabling thin and ... » read more

It’s a Materials World, With Positive Forecast


By Michael Fury What’s the latest in materials forecasts for ALD/CVD precursors, CMP consumables, electronic gases, silicon wafers and sputtering targets? Techcet gives us an update. Metal Gate and Electrode Precursors to Double in Five Years Use of front-end Ta and W metal gate and Hf gate dielectric precursors will grow over 2.5x by 2020, according to a new report from Techcet, “20... » read more

Flash Dance For Inspection And Metrology


Chipmakers are moving from planar technology to an assortment of 3D-like architectures, such as 3D NAND and finFETs For these devices, chipmakers face a multitude of challenges in the fab. But one surprising and oft-forgotten technology is emerging as perhaps the biggest challenge in both logic and memory—process control. Process control includes metrology and wafer inspection. Metrolo... » read more

How To Deal With Electromigration


The replacement of aluminum with copper interconnect wiring, first demonstrated by IBM in 1997, brought the integrated circuit industry substantial improvements in both resistance to electromigration and line conductivity. Copper is both a better and more stable conductor than aluminum. Difficult though the transition was, it helped extend device scaling for another eighteen years (and counting... » read more

3D NAND Market Heats Up


After some delays and uncertainty in past years, the 3D NAND market is finally heating up. In 2013 and 2014, Samsung was the only vendor participating in the 3D NAND market. Most other suppliers were supposed to ship 3D NAND devices in volumes last year, but vendors pushed out their production dates for various business and technical reasons. Going into 2015, [getentity id="22865" e_nam... » read more

Has 3D NAND Fallen Flat?


Today’s planar NAND technology will hit the wall at 10nm, prompting the need for the next big thing in flash memory—3D NAND. In fact, 3D NAND may extend NAND flash memory for the next several years and enable new applications. And it will also drive a new wave of fabs and tool orders. But the transition won’t be as smooth as previous rollouts. 3D NAND is harder to manufacture than pr... » read more