SEMICON West R&D panel discusses the future of semiconductor technology

Leaders of research consortia from around the world sat down to share updates and insights with SEMICON West attendees on Wednesday morning. In a panel led by SEMI President Karen Sevala, four executives from SEMATECH, CNSE, CEA-Leti and imec discussed their companies’ focus and progress on lithography, 3D stacking and ICs, memory and logic and more.

Lithography was a huge project and priority to three out of the four consortia represented and was the first topic brought to the panel by Sevala.

“Lithography is one of the highest priorities of our industry,” said Luc Van den hove, CEO of imec.

Van den hove said that he was very positive about EUV, confident that it was going to be available very soon. Daniel Armbrust of SEMATECH echoed Van den hove’s sentiments, reinforcing the importance of EUV’s availability for the continuation of Moore’s law.

“EUV must happen,” Armbrust emphasized to the crowd. SEMATECH’s EUV program, he said, has been focused on taking the manufacturing technology and making sure it’s ready for high volume production.

“The technology is in relatively decent shape,” Armbrust said. The challenge, he explained, is defect performance.

3D stacking and TSVs were also a hot topic. Michael Liehr of CNSE said, while important, 3D has been slower to take off than expected.

“The cost and implementation are still a lot more extensive than typical packaging solutions,” Liehr said. “We hope that this technology will lead to a leap in performance.”

Van den hove shared that imec believes that 3D stacking and ICs are very important technologies, and that the consortia started their programs about ten years ago.

“One of the biggest challenges with this technology is that we have two worlds that need to meet,” said Van den hove, in an effort to encourage industry collaboration.

Concerning memory and logic, Armbrust said that SEMATECH has been moving to 3D structures and focusing on the 7nm node, which has inevitably led to changes in device structure.

“The most promising candidate,” said Armbrust, “is replacing silicon with a material that provides III-V compounds.”



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