Trade War Looms Over Materials

It’s time to pay close attention to rare earths and raw materials--again. In fact, the supply chain teams and commodity buyers at aerospace, automotive and electronics companies may have some new and potentially big problems on their hands. For some time, the European Union (EU), the United States and other nations have been at odds with China over rare earths. China, which accounts for... » read more

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

Next Challenge: Contact Resistance

In chip scaling, there is no shortage of challenges. Scaling the finFET transistor and the interconnects are the biggest challenges for current and future devices. But now, there is another part of the device that’s becoming an issue—the contact. Typically, the contact doesn’t get that much attention, but the industry is beginning to worry about the resistance in the contacts, or conta... » read more

Interconnect Challenges Grow

It’s becoming apparent that traditional chip scaling is slowing down. The 16nm/14nm logic node took longer than expected to unfold. And the 10nm node and beyond could suffer the same fate. So what’s the main cause? It’s hard to pinpoint the problem, although many blame the issues on lithography. But what could eventually hold up the scaling train, and undo Moore’s Law, is arguably t... » read more

Recharging The Battery

There are few technologies in today’s cutting-edge technological environment that have a difficult time finding new levels of performance. Battery technology is one of them. With the exception of a few experimental offerings, batteries and their performance metrics are relatively flat. There has been some progress, of course. But when compared to other technologies such as transistors, mem... » read more

Pathfinding Beyond 10nm

After higher aspect-ratio finFETs and higher mobility SiGe and III-V materials, the industry will move to lateral nanowires and then to vertical nanowire transistors, and to new tunnel junction FETs or spin wave architectures ─ or to various combinations of these technologies for different applications, reported An Steegan, Imec senior vice president of process technology, during SEMICON West... » 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

Will 7nm And 5nm Really Happen?

Today’s silicon-based finFETs could run out of steam at 10nm. If or when chipmakers move beyond 10nm, IC vendors will require a new transistor architecture. III-V finFETs, gate-all-around FETs, quantum well finFETs, SOI finFETs and vertical nanowires are just a few of the future transistor candidates at 7nm and 5nm. Technically, it’s possible to manufacture the transistor portions of the... » read more

New Materials Era In Advanced Interconnects

By Kavita Shah Growth in semiconductors today is driven primarily by mobile applications and this demand continues to increase with no slowdown in sight. Supporting this trend, chipmakers continue adding smaller and faster transistors to chips to maintain the pace of Moore’s Law, and as a consequence copper wiring is being drastically scaled and densities increased. Today advanced chips c... » read more

Cobalt To The Rescue

A big concern for chipmakers is a key part of the manufacturing flow—the backend-of-the-line (BEOL). In chip production, the BEOL is where the interconnects are formed within a device. Interconnects, those tiny wiring schemes in devices, are becoming more compact at each node. This, in turn, is causing a degradation in performance and an increase in the dreaded resistance-capacitance (RC) ... » read more

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