New BEOL/MOL Breakthroughs?


Chipmakers are moving ahead with transistor scaling at advanced nodes, but it's becoming more difficult. The industry is struggling to maintain the same timeline for contacts and interconnects, which represent a larger portion of the cost and unwanted resistance in chips at the most advanced nodes. A leading-edge chip consists of three parts—the transistor, contacts and interconnects. The ... » read more

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

The Race To 10/7nm


Amid the ongoing ramp of 16/14nm processes in the market, the industry is now gearing up for the next nodes. In fact, GlobalFoundries, Intel, Samsung and TSMC are racing each other to ship 10nm and/or 7nm technologies. The current iterations of 10nm and 7nm technologies are scaled versions of today’s 16nm/14nm finFETs with traditional copper interconnects, high-k/metal-gate and low-k diele... » read more

Inside Next-Gen Transistors


David Fried, chief technology officer at [getentity id="22210" e_name="Coventor"], sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to discuss the IC industry, China, scaling, transistors and process technology. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: In a recent roundtable discussion you talked about some of the big challenges facing the IC industry. One of your big concerns involves th... » read more

Managing Parasitics For Transistor Performance


The basic equations describing transistor behavior rely on parameters like channel doping, the capacitance of the gate oxide, and the resistance between the source and drain and the channel. And for most of the IC industry's history, these have been sufficient. “Parasitic” or “external” resistances and capacitances from structures outside the transistor have been small enough to discoun... » read more

Changing Direction In Chip Design


Andrzej Strojwas, chief technologist at PDF Solutions and professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University—and the winner of this year's Phil Kaufman Award for distinguished contributions to EDA—sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to talk about device scaling, why the semiconductor industry will begin to fragment around new architectures and packaging, and ... » read more

Transferring Skills Getting Harder


Rising complexity in developing chips at advanced nodes, and an almost perpetual barrage of new engineering challenges at each new node, are making it more difficult for everyone involved to maintain consistent skill levels across a growing number of interrelated technologies. The result is that engineers are being forced to specialize, but when they work with other engineers with different ... » read more

Inside Advanced Patterning


Prabu Raja, group vice president and general manager for the Patterning and Packaging Group at [getentity id="22817" e_name="Applied Materials"], sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to discuss the trends in patterning, selective processes and other topics. Raja is also a fellow at Applied Materials. What follows are excerpts of that conversion. SE: From your standpoint, what are the big... » read more

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

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