Challenges In Stacking, Shrinking And Inspecting Next-Gen Chips


Rick Gottscho, CTO of Lam Research, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to discuss memory and equipment scaling, new market demands, and changes in manufacturing being driven by cost, new technologies, and the application of machine learning. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: We have a lot of different memory technologies coming to market. What's the impact of that? ... » read more

Scaling CMOS Image Sensors


After a period of record growth, the CMOS image sensor market is beginning to face some new and unforeseen challenges. CMOS image sensors provide the camera functions in smartphones and other products, but now they are facing scaling and related manufacturing issues in the fab. And like all chip products, image sensors are seeing slower growth amid the coronavirus outbreak. Manufactured a... » read more

Making Chips At 3nm And Beyond


Select foundries are beginning to ramp up their new 5nm processes with 3nm in R&D. The big question is what comes after that. Work is well underway for the 2nm node and beyond, but there are numerous challenges as well as some uncertainty on the horizon. There already are signs that the foundries have pushed out their 3nm production schedules by a few months due to various technical issu... » read more

Moving To GAA FETs


How do you measure the size of a transistor? Is it the gate length, or the distance between the source and drain contacts? For planar transistors, the two values are approximately the same. The gate, plus a dielectric spacer, fits between the source and drain contacts. The contact pitch, limited by the smallest features that the lithography process can print, determines how many transistors ... » read more

Blog Review: Dec. 4


Arm's Rupal Gandhi digs into the Cell-Aware Test methodology to deterministically target the growing number of defects that occur within the cells, the process of CAT library generation, and compares the static and transition patterns generated. Cadence's Paul McLellan shares highlights from the recent WOSET event with a look at the big drivers for the current interest in open-source EDA too... » read more

Weighing Wafers Simplifies Metrology


Building semiconductors is an incredibly exacting process, with critical dimensions posing significant equipment challenges – and with the possibility that small process excursions can cause the yield to decrease. For this reason, it has always been important to measure and monitor the most critical process steps to ensure that no further processing is done on a faulty lot and so that equipme... » read more

DRAM Scaling Challenges Grow


DRAM makers are pushing into the next phase of scaling, but they are facing several challenges as the memory technology approaches its physical limit. DRAM is used for main memory in systems, and today’s most advanced devices are based on roughly 18nm to 15nm processes. The physical limit for DRAM is somewhere around 10nm. There are efforts in R&D to extend the technology, and ultimate... » read more

Building An MRAM Array


MRAM is gaining traction in a variety of designs as a middle-level type of memory, but there are reasons why it took so long to bring this memory to market. A typical magnetoresistive RAM architecture is based on CoFeB magnetic layers, with an MgO tunneling barrier. The reference layer should have zero net magnetization to make sure that it doesn’t influence the orientation of the free lay... » read more

Node Within A Node


Enough margin exists in manufacturing processes to carve out the equivalent of a full node of scaling, but shrinking that margin will require a collective push across the entire semiconductor manufacturing supply chain. Margin is built into manufacturing at various stages to ensure that chips are manufacturable and yield sufficiently. It can include everything from variation in how lines are... » read more

Controlling Variability And Cost At 3nm And Beyond


Richard Gottscho, executive vice president and CTO of Lam Research, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to talk about how to utilize more data from sensors in manufacturing equipment, the migration to new process nodes, and advancements in ALE and materials that could have a big impact on controlling costs. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: As more sensors are added int... » read more

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