Blog Review October 14 2013

At the recent imec International Technology Forum Press Gathering in Leuven, Belgium, imec CEO Luc Van den hove provided an update on blood cell sorting technology that combines semiconductor technology with microfluidics, imaging and high speed data processing to detect tumorous cancer cells. Pete Singer reports.

Pete Singer attended imec’s recent International Technology Forum in Leuven, Belgium. There, An Steegan, senior vice president process technology at imec, said FinFETs will likely become the logic technology of choice for the upcoming generations, with high mobility channels coming into play for the 7 and 5nm generation (2017 and 2019). In DRAM, the MIM capacitor will give way to the SST-MRAM. In NAND flash, 3D SONOS is expected to dominate for several generations; the outlook for RRAM remains cloudy.

At Semicon Europa last week, Paul Farrar, general manager of G450C, provided an update on the consortium’s progress in demonstrating 450mm process capability. He said 25 tools will be installed in the Albany cleanroom by the end of 2013, progress has been made on notchless wafers with a 1.5mm edge exclusion zone, they have seen significant progress in wafer quality, and automation and wafer carriers are working.

Phil Garrou reports on developments in 3D integration from Semicon Taiwan. He notes that at the Embedded Technology Forum, Hu of Unimicron looked at panel level embedded technology.

Kathryn Ta of Applied Materials connects how demand for mobile devices is driving materials innovation. She says that about 90 percent of the performance benefits in the smaller (sub 28nm) process nodes come from materials innovation and device architecture. This number is up significantly from the approximate 15 percent contribution in 2000.

Tony Massimini of Semico says the MEMS market is poised for significant growth thanks to major expansion of applications in smart phone and automotive. In 2013, Semico expects a total MEMS market of $16.8 B but by 2017 it will have expanded to $28.5 B, a 70 percent increase in a mere four years time.

Steffen Schulze and Tim Lin of Mentor Graphics look at different options for reducing mask write time. They note that a number of techniques have been developed by EDA suppliers to control mask write time by reducing shot count— from simple techniques to align fragments in the OPC step, to more complex techniques of simplifying the data for individual writing passes in multi-pass writing.

If you want to see SOI in action, look no further than the Samsung Galaxy S4 LTE. Peregrine Semi’s main antenna switch on BSOS substrates from Soitec enables the smartphone to support 14 frequency bands simultaneously, for a three-fold improvement in download times.

Vivek Bakshi notes that a lot of effort goes into enabling EUV sources for EUVL scanners and mask defect metrology tools to ensure they meet the requirements for production level tools. Challenges include modeling of sources, improvement of conversion efficiency, finding ways to increase source brightness, spectral purity filter development and contamination control. These and other issues are among topics that were proposed by a technical working group for the 2013 Source Workshop in Dublin, Ireland.

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