Material Innovations Aim to Cut Development, Environmental Costs

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Material Innovations Aim to Cut Development, Environmental Costs

Paula Doe, SEMI, San Jose --

The material sector could get some help trimming development and environmental costs with patterned 45 nm test wafers, software to screen materials for nanoscale electrical properties, and environmentally sustainable copper cleaning solutions. These developments from ATDF (Austin, Texas), Atomistix Inc. (Copenhagen, Denmark) and DuPont EKC Technology (Hayward, Calif.) were selected for this year's SEMICON West Technology Innovation Showcase (TIS) for their potential impact on key materials sector issues. "Our aim is to pull out some of the really innovative things to make them easy to find at the show," said selection committee member and Techcet Group partner John Housley.

ATDF's Nanopattern wafers enable resistance testing of polysilicon-on-oxide serpentine and comb features that simulate 45 nm gate structures for cleans, deposition and metrology test applications. The wafer features a range of 45 nm structures from isolated (8:1) to dense (1:1) lines, and also 1:1 lines at 100, 125 and 400 nm pitches. Initial applications involve evaluating cleans on small features and addressing the growing challenge of using megasonic cleans at smaller dimensions, which require maximizing particle removal while minimizing potential damage. The Austin R&D foundry will also offer both pre- and post-testing of the wafers.

ADTF worked closely with a cleans supplier to develop the patent-pending test wafers, aimed at giving users the option to develop and evaluate their products without using wafers provided by their customers. "Before Nanopattern, the only alternative was to work with a chip manufacturer using their specific design. They might tell you if the clean process works or not, and then return data that you can't use anywhere else. Finally, you may not even get enough wafers to run full experiments," said David Baker, product development manager at ATDF. "Nanopattern brings the opportunity to test at cutting-edge geometries to the supplier."

The Technology Innovation Showcase spotlights companies advancing Moore’s Law to its limits and beyond. Selected by a jury of expert technologists (including past Showcase winners), selected “For the past three years, the Innovation Showcase has helped to highlight companies with significant new products that may change the micro- and nanoelectronics industries,” said Victoria Hadfield, president of SEMI North America. “Our goal is to speed these innovations to market by assisting winners in the identification of potential customers, partners and funding sources.”

Article originally appeared in Semiconductor International, 6/8/2007