Science that is transforming lives and enabling the future
For decades, the semiconductor device manufacturing mantra was “How do we make them smaller, cheaper, and faster?” The pursuit of Moore’s Law – the doubling of transistors on a chip every two years – was achieved through planar scaling. But that approach could only go on for so long. The mantra now is “How do we improve power, performance, area, and cost (PPAC)?” At the 14 nm node, it was clear that the best way to push the limits of semiconductor device PPAC was to take it into the third dimension.
Things are not always as they appear. Take semiconductor manufacturing. On the surface, it may seem that the secret to making semiconductor devices more advanced lies in the design. But just as an architect’s design for a building may not be structurally feasible without the right materials, a semiconductor device design may not be functional if the materials and their interactions are not considered and optimized.
Here’s a challenge, say the number 9 out loud, nine times. 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9.
To wrap up the Year of the Tiger (2022), there are still lessons to be learned from the animal kingdom. A tiger out in the open roaming the savannah is at risk of injuries from predators, including human hunters. Wafers left out in the open in a fab are susceptible to damage that can cause dramatic yield drops. The larger the wafer diameter, the greater the risk.
What do plasma chamber components have to do with deer or wild boar? These animals are potential sources of food for the tiger. The components are potential sources of contamination in the fab. Success in both cases relies on attention to detail and a flexible strategy. Whether you are chasing prey or particle contamination, a multi-pronged approach is best.
Summer is the perfect season to enjoy the great outdoors with friends and family. Unless, of course, the air is filled with smoke and ash. The color-coded air quality readings too often go beyond the red danger zone into purple, with an Air Quality Index (AQI) of over 200 parts per million (ppm) of particulate contamination. This particulate count is far above what is safe even for healthy adults. In many parts of the western U.S. and beyond, purple air has become far too familiar.
The explosion of data generation has been accompanied by a corresponding explosion of memory storage technology options. The array of acronyms is astounding—NAND, DRAM, SRAM, MRAM, PCRAM—and finding the right option can be complicated. For applications that need nonvolatile memory with high switching speed and fast data access, storage class memory (SCM) can be a perfect fit.
Whether it is a deliberate strategy or serendipity, the innovations that shape our lives are the result of skilled people put into the right environment to create something new. Innovation is not an exact science, but persistence and some good luck have yielded all the amazing tools and technology we rely upon.
Entegris recently participated at SEMICON West in San Francisco, CA, July 12 – 14. After three years without a major onsite presence, the team was eager to be back in person and engage face-to-face with key customers and suppliers.
In February 2022, we entered the Lunar Year of the Tiger. Fittingly, semiconductor demand is as ferocious as the tiger and shows no signs of easing up soon. To meet this demand, the industry must be as efficient as possible.
A major difference exists as more features from our smartphones are integrated, replicated, and expanded in our cars - reliability expectations. A smartphone is designed to work effectively for 3-5 years while cars expect 10-15 years with standard maintenance. Failure in our cars can create dangerous situations for drivers, passengers, and others on the roadway. Designing and manufacturing our cars to ensure the functional safety along with the performance expectations of our new digital transportation systems is challenging manufacturing models for carmakers.
The expanding need for massive data storage and processing has driven the migration from 2D to 3D architectures for logic and memory chips. These complex architectures, with their high aspect ratio (HAR) designs and ultra-thin layers, are forcing advances in metal and oxide deposition processes. Atomic layer deposition (ALD) is usually the method of choice for producing uniform layers with precisely controlled composition.