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Author's Latest Posts


Materials Innovation Key To Enabling Next-Generation Mobile Devices


By Kathryn Ta There’s a lot of excitement building regarding several new mobile product announcements on the horizon, including a concept smartwatch, a new phablet and a new smartphone. These products are sure to be on a lot of consumers’ wish lists this holiday season, and users will expect them to have a sleeker look and feel, while running applications instantly, providing all-day batte... » read more

Overcoming Shallow Trench Isolation


By Kathryn Ta To prevent electrical current leaking between adjacent transistors, state-of-the-art microchips feature shallow trench isolation (STI) to isolate transistors from each other. Key steps in the STI process involve etching a pattern of trenches in the silicon, depositing dielectric materials to fill the trenches, and removing the excess dielectric using technologies such as chemical... » read more

Nanoscale Wiring


By Kathryn Ta The TEM image (below) taken at Applied Materials’ Maydan Technology Center shows a series of 20nm-wide trenches in cross section. These tiny structures – about 1/5000th of the diameter of an average human hair – are similar to the interconnects used to wire the billions of transistors in next-generation microchips. You can see that each trench is partially filled with coppe... » read more

The New Mobility Era


By Kathryn Ta Transistors are the fundamental building blocks out of which all modern electronic devices are built. Invented in the early 1950s, transistors are the semiconductor switches that control and amplify electronic signals. As demand has grown over the years for greater performance from these devices, chipmakers have responded by packing wafers with twice as many of the transistors th... » read more