Creating An Accurate FEOL CMP Model

By Ruben Ghulghazaryan, Jeff Wilson, and Ahmed AbouZeid For decades, semiconductor manufacturers have used chemical-mechanical polishing (CMP) as the primary technique for the smoothing and leveling (planarization) of dielectrics and metal layers. CMP modeling allows  design and manufacturing teams to find and fix potential planarization issues before the actual CMP process is applied to a ... » read more

A Novel Approach To Dummy Fill For Analog Designs Using Calibre SmartFill

With small geometry silicon processes, additional nonfunctional geometric structures are required to maintain layer planarity during the chemical/mechanical polishing (CMP) phase of processing. The automated layout flows to generate such geometries tend to be designed primarily for large system on chip (SOC) digital designs. When applied to mixed-signal layouts, these flows have been seen to ha... » read more

200mm Equipment Shortfall

A surge in demand for consumer electronics, communications ICs, sensors and other products has created a shortage in 200mm fab capacity that shows no signs of abating. None of these chips need to be manufactured using the most advanced processes, and there have been enough tweaks to processes at established nodes to eke even more out of existing processes. But that has left chipmakers strugg... » read more

Increasing Challenges At Advanced Nodes

Gary Patton, chief technology officer at GlobalFoundries, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to talk about new materials, stacked die, how far FD-SOI can be extended, and new directions for interconnects and transistors. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: Where do you see problems at future nodes? Patton: At the device level, we have to be able to pattern these thing... » read more

Déjà Vu For CMP Modeling?

One definition of design for manufacturing (DFM) is providing knowledge about the impact of the manufacturing process on a design layout to the designers, so they can use that information to improve the robustness, reliability, or yield of their design before tapeout. Essentially, DFM is about designers taking ownership of the full “lifecycle” of a design, and going beyond the required desi... » read more

Still Searching For Rare Earths

There is both good and bad news for buyers of rare earths. The good news: It’s a buyers’ market. Prices for rare earths remain depressed amid a glut in the marketplace. The bad news: The supplier base is shaky. China still accounts for 85% of the world’s total production of rare earths, but most Chinese suppliers are operating at a loss. And two of the main non-Chinese suppliers, M... » 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

Surprises At SEMICON West

As companies such as TSMC and Intel spend less on capital expenditures this year, expectations for SEMICON West 2015 were pretty bleak. I thought I’d have fewer appointments and nothing to really write home about. Au contraire. Although traffic on the show floor was nothing compared to events like CES, there are three things that are driving growth and excitement at semiconductor equipment... » read more

Foundries Expand Planar Efforts

Competition is heating up in the leading-edge foundry business, as vendors begin to ramp up their new 16nm/14nm finFET processes. But that’s not the only action in the foundry arena. They are also expanding their efforts in the leading-edge planar market by rolling out new 28nm and 22nm processes. On one front, TSMC is offering new 28nm variants, based on bulk CMOS technology. And on an... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing

Christopher Rolland, an analyst at FBR, made a startling statement in a recent report. “At the pace of consolidation set thus far this year, 32% of all U.S. publicly traded semiconductor companies would be acquired in 2015! While this run-rate is not likely sustainable and should slow as the year progresses, we still expect ~15% consolidation rates for the remainder of this cycle (above low-t... » read more

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