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

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Fab tools A consortium of 31 companies have launched a new project, called the “Advanced packaging for photonics, optics and electronics for low cost manufacturing in Europe.” The program is referred to as APPLAUSE. With a budget of 34 million euros, the project is being coordinated by ICOS, a division of KLA. “APPLAUSE will focus on advanced optics, photonics and electronics packagin... » read more

In-Memory Computing Challenges Come Into Focus


For the last several decades, gains in computing performance have come by processing larger volumes of data more quickly and with superior precision. Memory and storage space are measured in gigabytes and terabytes now, not kilobytes and megabytes. Processors operate on 64-bit rather than 8-bit chunks of data. And yet the semiconductor industry’s ability to create and collect high quality ... » read more

Quantum Issues And Progress


Quantum computing is showing significant promise, and research is beginning to move from the earliest stages to a deeper understanding of what works best commercially and why. On paper, quantum computing algorithms are potentially revolutionary. They suggest a way to solve some problems more quickly and more accurately than conventional computers ever could. But out in the real world of prac... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: Jan. 2


Better nanowire MOSFETs At the recent IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM), Imec and Applied Materials presented a paper on a new and improved way to fabricate vertically stacked gate-all-around MOSFETs. More specifically, Imec and Applied reported on process improvements for a silicon nanowire MOSFET, which is integrated in a CMOS dual work function metal replacement metal ga... » read more

Interest Grows In Ferroelectric Devices


Ferroelectric FETs and memories are beginning to show promise as researchers begin developing and testing next-generation transistors. One measure of the efficiency of a transistor is the subthreshold swing, which is the change in gate voltage needed to increase the drain current by one order of magnitude. Measured in units of millivolts per decade, in conventional MOSFETs it is limited to k... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: Dec. 18


Gallium oxide breakthroughs Crystalline beta gallium oxide is a promising wide bandgap semiconductor material. It has a large bandgap of 4.8–4.9 eV with a high breakdown field of 8 MV/cm. The technology has a high voltage figure of merit, which is more than 3,000 times greater than silicon, more than 8 times greater than silicon carbide (SiC) and more than 4 times greater than that of... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: Dec. 11


FinFET vs. FD-SOI pH sensors At the recent 2018 IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM), TSMC and National Tsing Hua University presented a paper on an ion detector or pH sensor based on a 16nm finFET technology. Researchers have developed an advanced version of an ion-sensitive field-effect transistor (ISFET). Originally developed in the 1970s, ISFETs are pH sensors that are use... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: Oct. 23


3D stacked finFETs At the upcoming 2018 IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM), Imec is expected to present a paper on a 3D stacked finFET architecture. IEDM is slated from Dec. 1-5 in San Francisco. Imec’s technology is based what on the R&D organization calls sequential integration. Another R&D organization, Leti, calls it 3D monolithic integration. Regardless, the idea... » read more

The Growing Materials Challenge


By Katherine Derbyshire & Ed Sperling Materials have emerged as a growing challenge across the semiconductor supply chain, as chips continue to scale, or as they are utilized in new devices such as sensors for AI or machine learning systems. Engineered materials are no longer optional at advanced nodes. They are now a requirement, and the amount of new material content in chips contin... » read more

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