Tech Brief: Elements of Electroplating


Electroplating is a common manufacturing process that applies a thin layer of one metal onto another. The U.S. penny, for example, has been made of zinc with a thin, electroplated coating of copper since 1982. Jewelry and flatware are also frequently electroplated to improve visual appearance or provide wear and corrosion resistance. Today, electroplating is widely performed in the electronics ... » read more

Dealing With Resistance In Chips


Chipmakers continue to scale the transistor at advanced nodes, but they are struggling to maintain the same pace with the other two critical parts of the device—the contacts and interconnects. That’s beginning to change, however. In fact, at 10nm/7nm, chipmakers are introducing new topologies and materials such as cobalt, which promises to boost the performance and reduce unwanted resist... » read more

Trump Wants Critical Metals


In recent times, President Trump has taken an active role in the electronics and related sectors, notably the U.S. administration’s move to block Broadcom’s unsolicited, $117 billion takeover bid for Qualcomm. The Trump administration has also raised eyebrows by blocking other deals as well. And with little or no fanfare, the administration is also taking a role in another area—critica... » 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

Making Interconnects Faster


In integrated circuits, interconnect resistance is a combination of wire and via resistance. Wire resistance of a conductor depends on several factors, one of which is the electron scattering at various surfaces and grain boundaries. Via resistance, on the other hand, is a function of the thickness or resistivity of the layers at the bottom of the via through which current must travel. T... » read more

BEOL Issues At 10nm And 7nm


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss problems with the back end of line at leading-edge nodes with Craig Child, senior manager and deputy director for [getentity id="22819" e_name="GlobalFoundries'"] advanced technology development integration unit; Paul Besser, senior technology director at [getentity id="22820" comment="Lam Research"]; David Fried, CTO at [getentity id="22210" e_name... » read more

Trade War Looms Over Materials


It’s time to pay close attention to rare earths and raw materials--again. In fact, the supply chain teams and commodity buyers at aerospace, automotive and electronics companies may have some new and potentially big problems on their hands. For some time, the European Union (EU), the United States and other nations have been at odds with China over rare earths. China, which accounts for... » read more

Can Copper Revolutionize Interconnects Again?


Electromigration and resistivity present serious obstacles to interconnect scaling, as previously discussed. In a copper damascene process, grain growth is constrained by the narrow trenches into which copper is deposited. As the grain size approaches the mean free path of electrons in copper, electron scattering at sidewalls and grain boundaries increases and resistivity jumps. Meanwhile, incr... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: July 16


Photon Chips Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Vienna University of Technology have devised an all-optical transistor controlled by a single photon. The optical transistor could enable the development of photonic quantum gates and deterministic multi-photon entanglement. For years, researchers have been looking to develop an optical transistor, whe... » read more

The Threat Within


By Connie Duncan Given that today’s advanced chips can contain billions of transistors, 60 miles of copper wiring and 10 billion vertical connections between metal layers, the challenges and potential pitfalls this level of complexity presents are mind-boggling. One major problem on the horizon at 20nm and below is the threat of voids forming in the vertical interconnects commonly called via... » read more

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