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

Big Trouble At 3nm


As chipmakers begin to ramp up 10nm/7nm technologies in the market, vendors are also gearing up for the development of a next-generation transistor type at 3nm. Some have announced specific plans at 3nm, but the transition to this node is expected to be a long and bumpy one, filled with a slew of technical and cost challenges. For example, the design cost for a 3nm chip could exceed an eye-p... » read more

New Nodes, Materials, Memories


Ellie Yieh, vice president and general manager of Advanced Product Technology Development at [getentity id="22817" e_name="Applied Materials"], and head of the company's Maydan Technology Center, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to talk about challenges, changes and solutions at advanced nodes and with new applications. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: How far can w... » 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

Ruthenium Liners Give Way To Ruthenium Lines


For several years now, integrated circuit manufacturers have been investigating alternative barrier layer materials for copper interconnects. As interconnect dimensions shrink, the barrier accounts for an increasing fraction of the total line volume. As previously reported, both cobalt and ruthenium have drawn substantial interest because they can serve as both barrier and seed layers, minimizi... » read more

New BEOL/MOL Breakthroughs?


Chipmakers are moving ahead with transistor scaling at advanced nodes, but it's becoming more difficult. The industry is struggling to maintain the same timeline for contacts and interconnects, which represent a larger portion of the cost and unwanted resistance in chips at the most advanced nodes. A leading-edge chip consists of three parts—the transistor, contacts and interconnects. The ... » read more

The Race To 10/7nm


Amid the ongoing ramp of 16/14nm processes in the market, the industry is now gearing up for the next nodes. In fact, GlobalFoundries, Intel, Samsung and TSMC are racing each other to ship 10nm and/or 7nm technologies. The current iterations of 10nm and 7nm technologies are scaled versions of today’s 16nm/14nm finFETs with traditional copper interconnects, high-k/metal-gate and low-k diele... » read more

Inside Next-Gen Transistors


David Fried, chief technology officer at [getentity id="22210" e_name="Coventor"], sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to discuss the IC industry, China, scaling, transistors and process technology. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: In a recent roundtable discussion you talked about some of the big challenges facing the IC industry. One of your big concerns involves th... » read more

Transferring Skills Getting Harder


Rising complexity in developing chips at advanced nodes, and an almost perpetual barrage of new engineering challenges at each new node, are making it more difficult for everyone involved to maintain consistent skill levels across a growing number of interrelated technologies. The result is that engineers are being forced to specialize, but when they work with other engineers with different ... » read more

More EUV Mask Gaps


Extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography is at a critical juncture. After several delays and glitches, [gettech id="31045" comment="EUV"] is now targeted for 7nm and/or 5nm. But there are still a number of technologies that must come together before EUV is inserted into mass production. And if the pieces don’t fall into place, EUV could slip again. First, the EUV source must generate more ... » read more

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