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Emerging materials in semiconductors

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Mark Thirsk & Mike Corbett, Linx Consulting LLC, Massachusetts, USA



The extension of scaling of advanced IC devices has required the implementation of many new materials to optimize speed and thermal characteristics. Starting with copper high-volume manufacturing (HVM) ramp to the commercialization of high-k gate dielectrics and metal gates, more new materials have been introduced over the last four nodes than in any other comparable period of time. In addition to the implementation of these new materials, many more materials have been proposed and evaluated for potential use in HVM. Further complicating the emergence of these materials is the development of new processing techniques such as ALD or porous SiCOH film deposition. These new techniques further enhance the profound changes apparent in the business model of materials suppliers to develop, evaluate, introduce, source and supply to manufacturers, often in smaller volumes that have been sent in the past.

This paper will examine technical and business aspects of the materials business including the introduction of high-k dielectrics and metal gates; novel processes in the front end; back end developments such as the conversion of memory interconnect to copper; and developments in the damascene interconnect schemes. In addition, we will review implications of the troubles litho roadmap, and discuss the size and timing of business opportunities for suppliers.

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