by Ed Korczynski, Senior Technical Editor, Solid State Technology
From deciding on HK+MG first or last (or both), to dreams and realities of semiconductor manufacturing expansion in foreign markets, and the continued winding march of technology development and industry consolidation — 2007 was an interesting year for the semiconductor industry, especially for those of us trying to keep track of it all.
High-k (HK) and metal-gates (MG) for CMOS transistors are real and here now, with Intel deciding on HK-first but MG-last for process integration. What is the temperature limit for MG processing such that the HK remains amorphous in this flow, and how many other elements are alloyed with hafnium and oxygen in the final film? IBM and SEMATECH and most of the rest of the world seem to be working on HKMG-first integration.
IBM in the US has sold 45nm bulk silicon manufacturing technology to SMIC in the P.R. China. I remember being in Shanghai in 1995 when people in China talked about getting 250nm (then “quarter micron”) technology from US companies, and it was then deemed too powerful to let go; now such technology sells for pennies on the ever depreciating dollar. Meanwhile, Intel is reportedly still on schedule to open a 90nm logic fab in China.