SAFC Hitech, a business segment within SAFC , a member of the Sigma-Aldrich Group, today announced details of its new materials roadmap for Metalorganic Chemical Vapor Deposition (MOCVD) and Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) processes on silicon semiconductor substrates. The roadmap outlines the development paths across current and future advanced memory and logic devices, which includes barrier layers, interconnects, dielectrics and metals, that the company expects to see play out between now and 2014.
SAFC Hitech last reviewed its semiconductor materials roadmap in mid-2007. However, regular monitoring is required in order to ascertain whether the market for semiconductor materials has evolved as expected. "There are numerous variables that can affect the selection, timing of insertion point and volume demand for electronic materials," commented Dr. Geoff Irvine, SAFC Hitech's Vice-President of Business Development. "SAFC Hitech routinely analyzes external guidelines such as the ITRS roadmap, trends in device development and economic conditions, and performs evaluations of our own research and development programs, allied to what we are seeing in our partnerships with customers. Through assessment, for example, if there are certain materials that have been adopted more rapidly than anticipated or adapted for an alternative application and, conversely, if there are some that may have seen a delay or reconsideration in use, our review process enables us to recast the materials requirements of the semiconductor industry and revise our roadmap accordingly."
While so-called 'traditional' semiconductor materials, such as the commonly used dielectric silicon dioxide, are still found in high volume applications, the pace and breadth of new materials exploration and adoption beyond these traditional materials is occurring at a rate not seen before in the industry: "Historically, the lifecycle of materials for semiconductors on a per unit process basis extended across multiple technology nodes," continued Irvine. "What we are experiencing now is a shortening of the lifespan of materials used across node generations as progress in the development of next generation devices demands integration of new materials to meet performance criteria. The rapid adoption of materials such as aluminum, hafnium and zirconium oxides, and mixed silicates, in production processes for both memory and logic applications, is one such example."
"This rapid adoption and developmental trend is perfectly illustrated by deposition materials and, the rate of adoption and subsequent change of materials employed for dielectric materials for metal-insulator-metal (MIM) capacitors in the manufacture of DRAM devices," expanded Ravi Kanjolia, SAFC Hitech's Chief Technology Officer. "Precursor chemistries have transitioned rapidly from providing solutions for growing high quality conformal amorphous films of Al2O3 to HfO2 followed by ZrO2. Similar trends regarding timescales for the adoption and integration of new materials in other functional layers of the devices are now also being seen."
Looking ahead, SAFC Hitech is continuing its focus on next generation high-K for gate applications, high-K and ultra high-K dielectrics for capacitor applications, the further development of metal gates, new electrode materials for DRAM and materials for copper barrier and copper seed, amongst areas of interest. The company has also made significant progress in developing germanium antimony telluride (GST) precursors for use in high volume phase change memory (PCM) applications. PCM, a non-volatile computer memory that allows for the scaling of ultimate feature size further than is possible with conventional Flash memories, offers greater storage capacity and superior performance for memory devices and is a technology widely viewed as a strong replacement candidate for NAND Flash.
For further information, visit SAFC Hitech during Semicon West at booth 5465 in the North Hall, or go to www.safchitech.com.