Etch Techniques for Next-Generation Storage-Class Memory


Chipmakers make abundant use of two very different functional classes of memory in their products. For operational use (main/primary memory) where speed is critical, DRAM and SRAM are employed, whereas for long-term storage, flash memory – in particular NAND – provides the high capacity at low cost needed. For both classes, efforts to improve speed, capacity, and power usage are ongoing. To... » read more

How Atomic Layer Deposition Works


Imagine being able to deposit a film of material just a few atomic layers at a time. As impossible as that sounds, atomic layer deposition (ALD) is a reality. In fact, it’s being used in an ever-increasing number of applications as an extremely precise and controllable process for creating thin films. Together with its etch counterpart – atomic layer etching (ALE) – ALD is enabling the us... » read more

Understanding Memory


New semiconductor applications are ever changing and improving our lives, from new smartphones and wearables to healthcare, factory automation, and artificial intelligence. The humble memory chip working in the background plays a critical role in enabling these technologies. For example, that awesome picture you just took would be lost forever without memory. Your computer can’t perform the i... » read more

Robots Get Social


From Star Trek’s Data to Star Wars’ C-3PO, the idea of humanoid robots has fascinated people for years. Back in the real world, robots build automobiles in factories, mow lawns, and even assist in complex heart surgery. Meanwhile, the use of androids like Data is approaching reality, as semiconductor and semiconductor-related devices like low-power microprocessors, 3D sensors, accelerometer... » read more

All About Interconnects


It's well known that advanced chips contain billions of transistors – this is an incredible, mind-blowing fact to be sure – but did you know that large-scale integrated chips (about the size of a fingernail) can contain ~30 miles of interconnect “wires” in stacked levels? These wires function like highways or pipelines to transport electrons, connect transistors and other components to ... » read more

What’s What In Advanced Packaging


Ever open the body of your smartphone (perhaps unintentionally) and see small, black rectangles stuck on a circuit board? Those black rectangles are packaged chips. The external chip structure protects the fragile integrated circuits inside, as well as dissipates heat, keeps chips isolated from each other, and, importantly, provides connection to the circuit board and other elements. The manufa... » read more

Controlling Uniformity At The Edge


Chipmakers want every part of the wafer to produce, or yield, good die. Advances in process technologies over the years have just about made this a reality, even as feature dimensions continue to shrink and devices grow ever more complex. Now, the last frontier is improving yields at the edge of the wafer – the outer 10 mm or so – where chemical, physical, and even thermal discontinuitie... » read more