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

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

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