FD-SOI Strains For The Future


One of the challenges facing supporters of FD-SOI is the need to provide a pathway to improved performance. While FD-SOI wafers offer some significant advantages over bulk silicon wafers, performance enhancements like strain and alternative channel materials are more difficult to implement in the thin SOI environment. On the other hand, once a fab is willing to incorporate layer transfer techni... » read more

Reliability After Planar Silicon


Negative bias temperature instability (NBTI) poses a very serious reliability challenge for highly scaled planar silicon transistors, as previously discussed. However, the conventional planar silicon transistor appears to be nearing the end of its life for other reasons, too. The mobility of carriers in silicon limits switching speed even as it becomes more difficult to maintain sufficient elec... » read more

Next Channel Materials?


Chipmakers are making a giant leap from planar transistors to [getkc id="185" kc_name="finFETs"]. Initially, [getentity id="22846" e_name="Intel"] moved into finFET production at 22nm and is now ramping up its second-generation finFETs at 14nm. And the other foundries will enter the finFET fray at 16nm/14nm. So what’s next? Chipmakers will likely extend the finFET architecture to both 10nm... » read more

Re-Engineering The FinFET


The semiconductor industry is still in the early stages of the [getkc id="185" kc_name="finFET"] era, but the [getkc id="26" kc_name="transistor"] technology already is undergoing a dramatic change. The fins themselves are getting a makeover. In the first-generation finFETs, the fins were relatively short and tapered. In the next wave, the fins are expected to get taller, thinner and more re... » read more

Ion Implanter Market Heats Up


The ion implanter market has been a stable, if not a sleepy, business. The last big event took place in 2011, when Applied Materials re-entered the ion implanter market by acquiring Varian, the world’s leading supplier of these tools. The acquisition gave Applied Materials a commanding 80% share of the implanter business, with the other players fighting for the crumbs. But after year... » read more

Many Stresses Impact TSVs


Too much stress in humans is typically not beneficial, and the same goes for 3D-ICs with through-silicon vias (TSVs). Stress effects here come from the fact that copper, which is the conductor of choice for the TSVs, and silicon have different coefficients of thermal expansion. “If you can imagine that a via will be etched through the silicon, copper will be deposited inside and then t... » read more

It’s A Materials World


By Mark LaPedus At a recent event, Intel’s fab materials guru described a nightmarish occurrence that nearly brought the chip giant to its knees. Tim Hendry, director of fab materials and vice president of the Technology and Manufacturing Group at Intel, said the company obtained a critical material from an undisclosed supplier. “This large sub-supplier, a very large chemical company, m... » read more

Mobility Gets A Boost With Expanded Epi Applications


By Jeremy Zelenko Even as industry moves into the era of the high k metal gate (HKMG) and FinFET transistor, chipmakers continue to seek ways to improve device performance. One of the latest advances and the subject of an Applied Materials announcement made today is to extend epitaxial deposition from PMOS to NMOS transistors. Implementing an NMOS epitaxy (epi) process in addition to the estab... » read more

The Week In Review: July 15


By Mark LaPedus There are more problems surfacing with extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography. Yes, the light source remains a problem, but the resists appear to be in decent shape. “The next challenge is the mask blank,” said Stefan Wurm, director of Sematech’s lithography program. The new problem involves ion beam deposition, which apparently is causing defects and overfill on EUV masks... » read more

Speeding Up NMOS


By Ed Sperling For years—decades, in fact—the NMOS transistor world has been on cruise control. NMOS is naturally faster and its performance has scaled better than PMOS. PMOS has had a cost advantage. But lately, it has been catching up in performance, too. In fact, at 20nm the two transistor types have proven nearly equal in performance—but not for long. NMOS is about to get a big bo... » read more

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