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

Following Multiple Patterns


The lithography market is in flux. Today, chipmakers plan to extend today’s 193nm immersion lithography and multi-patterning to at least 10nm and 7nm. For the most critical layers, though, it’s unclear if optical lithography can extend beyond 7nm. For that reason, chipmakers hope to insert extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography at 7nm and/or 5nm. To get a handle on the state of patterning, S... » read more

TFETs Cut Sub-Threshold Swing


One of the main obstacles to continued transistor scaling is power consumption. As gate length decreases, the sub-threshold swing (SS) — the gate voltage required to change the drain current by one order of magnitude — increases. As Qin Zhang, Wei Zhao, and Alan Seabaugh of Notre Dame explained in 2006, SS faces a theoretical minimum of 60 mV/decade at room temperature in conventional MO... » read more

New Techniques To Analyze And Reduce Etch Variation


Time division multiplex (TDM) plasma etch processes (commonly referred to as Deep Reactive ION Etching [“DRIE”]) use alternating deposition and etch steps cyclically to produce high aspect ratio structures on a silicon substrate. These etch processes have been widely applied in the manufacturing of silicon MEMS devices, and more recently in creating through silicon vias in 3D silicon struct... » read more

Etching Technology Advances


Let’s get really, really small. That directive from leading semiconductor companies and their customers is forcing the whole semiconductor supply chain to come up with new ways to design and manufacture ever-shrinking dimensions for chips. The current push is to 10nm and 7nm, but R&D into 5nm and 3nm is already underway. To put this in perspective, there are roughly two silicon atom... » 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

Timing Closure Issues Resurface


Timing closure has resurfaced as a major challenge at 10nm and 7nm due to more features and power modes, increased process variation and other manufacturing-related issues. While timing-related problems are roughly correlated to rising complexity in semiconductors, they tend to generate problems in waves—about once per decade. In SoCs, timing closure problems have spawned entire methodolog... » read more

Securing Chips During Manufacturing


David Lam, chairman of Multibeam, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to talk about how next-gen lithography tools can be used to prevent cyber attacks and counterfeiting of hardware. SE: How did you get into the anti-counterfeiting business? Lam: About three years ago we were working with some customers that were troubled by the counterfeiting problem. We became aware of that sense o... » 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

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