Transistors have revolutionized electronics since they were first invented over half a century ago. Their continued importance and widespread success rest on the ability to mass produce them at the nanoscale level.
At SEMATECH, we’ve built a strong foundation in understanding fundamental material properties, process options, integration choices, reliability impacts, costs and complexity trade-offs that drive the scaling of device technology and its adoption into high-volume manufacturing.
However, as transistor dimensions drop below 100 nm, the technology and design of conventional silicon-based CMOS processors are approaching their fundamental limits.
To avoid further downscaling of CMOS technology, SEMATECH researchers are exploring ways to integrate new materials into Si channels, such as silicon-germanium (SiGe) and III-V that are applicable for the 16 nm node and beyond. A significant part of this effort is focused on developing low-defect density epitaxial Ge/III-V layers on Si and suitable techniques to form high-quality high-k gate stacks, low-contact resistance silicides through barrier height engineering, and low-damage ultra-shallow junctions.
Such alternative materials could potentially improve performance, but efficiently incorporating these new materials into existing device structures and manufacturing processes remains a challenge.
To advance new structures within transistors, we are also focused on the development of innovative technology options such as high-mobility channels, quantum well channel architectures, and multi-gate devices like FinFETs, nanowire FETs and tunneling FETs. Advanced memory technologies such as charge trap flash, resistive RAM and other emerging memory technologies are also being explored.
Novel materials and structures to address the aggressive scaling of flash memory technologies, as well as emerging memories like resistive RAMs, are likewise being explored.
SEMATECH is also extensively involved in developing novel electrical/physical characterization methods to reveal the fundamental nature of various materials used in device fabrication and the interactions among them.