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The Smallest Silicon-Based Thin-Film Transistors Ever Made

Published on June 4, 2009 at 8:27 PM

SVTC Technologies, a leading independent company providing technology development and commercialization services to global clients, has partnered with startup Schiltron Corporation to produce the smallest silicon-based thin-film transistors ever made, with 48 nm gate length and 35 nm channel thickness.

The revolutionary transistors, manufactured in series strings of up to 64 cells, are designed for use in monolithic three-dimensional (3D) Flash memories -- which some consider an evolutionary alternative to traditional NAND Flash memory. NAND Flash memory is commonly used for mass-storage devices such as digital cameras and MP3 players, and can hold a large amount of data whether the device is on or off.

Schiltron, based in Mountain View, CA, uses a double-gate design that provides close electrostatic interactions to control short channel effects -- resulting in thinner tunnel oxides, lower erase voltages, and higher endurance than existing nitride-based NAND designs. Schiltron's technology was initially introduced to engineering audiences in December at the IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) in San Francisco, eliciting positive reviews.

"While NAND Flash will retain its usefulness for many applications, further scaling of this technology results in degradation in performance and reliability characteristics," said Andrew J. Walker, Founder and President of Schiltron. "Our memory design is feasible for the sub-50 nm technology node, and solves the usual critical problems associated with thin film transistors and charge trap flash."

Walker credited SVTC's product-development expertise for demonstrating that Schiltron's transistors can be produced cost-effectively with state-of-art CMOS-based tools, processes and materials. "Their advanced equipment and processes, combined with SVTC's flexibility in their use, were the key drivers for our success," he said.

"SVTC is privileged to work with technology pioneers such as Schiltron, for whom we can apply our advantages of superior cycle time, cost-effective development and faster time to revenue," said Dave Anderson, SVTC's Vice President of Marketing. "The timely availability of Schiltron's amazing technology demonstrates that SVTC provides a development environment unique in the world."

SVTC Technologies speeds the development and commercialization of innovative silicon-based technologies and products, cost-effectively and in an IP-secure manner. Through facilities in San Jose, Calif., and Austin, Texas, SVTC serves customers in rapidly growing markets such as novel memory, novel transistors, logic, MEMS, biotechnology, image sensors and high-voltage applications. SVTC offers a suite of leading-edge equipment and services, including full-scale 8-inch and 12-inch process capabilities, advanced CMOS equipment, analytical services, development support tools and commercialization services. SVTC is co-owned by Oak Hill Capital Management and Tallwood Venture Capital along with management. SVTC Technologies is an Equal Opportunity Employer. More information can be found at www.svtc.com.

Schiltron Corporation was established in 2005 to develop an innovative 3D technology to supplement NAND Flash. The company's founder and president is Andy Walker, who has more than 23 years experience in the semiconductor industry and has published academic peer-reviewed articles on topics in the areas of MOS device physics and technology, non-volatile memories, thin-film transistor physics and electrostatic discharge protection. Mr. Walker's industrial experience includes inventing and developing an embedded non-volatile memory technology that became the standard solution at a major semiconductor manufacturer. Before starting Schiltron, he worked at Philips Research Labs, Cypress Semiconductor, Artisan Components, and Matrix Semiconductor.

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