New MEMS White Paper

Download the latest Logitech white paper and learn more about MEMS processing technology and techniques

Download our CMP White Paper


FREE subscription
Subscribe for free to receive each issue of Semiconductor Today magazine and weekly news brief.


18 July 2007


SAFC Hitech unveils five-year MOCVD and ALD roadmap for 32nm and beyond

At this week’s Semicon West trade show in San Francisco, CA, USA, the SAFC Hitech business segment of SAFC of St Louis, MO, USA, a member of the Sigma-Aldrich Group, detailed its new five-year chemical roadmap for metalorganic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) and atomic layer deposition (ALD) processes on silicon substrates.

ALD and MOCVD precursor chemicals are made at SAFC Hitech’s facility in Bromborough, UK (formerly Epichem Group Ltd, until its acquisition in February for $60m). MOCVD is traditionally used for compound semiconductor materials, but is increasingly applicable to new materials coming into use in advanced silicon chips.

SAFC Hitech’s silicon roadmap adheres to the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) guidelines, and maps a program of materials development across a number of device layers, including materials for high-k dielectrics in logic and memory devices, additional functional memory architectures, electrodes in DRAM or gate stacks, barrier layers, wiring, and low-k dielectrics.

“As the silicon semiconductor industry moves from the 65nm node through 45nm, 32nm and beyond, demands placed on the electrophysics of the silicon device require the development of new enabling chemistries,” says SAFC Hitech’s president Barry Leese.  “We believe the semiconductor market is entering an ‘age of chemistry’‚ where continual materials evolution will be vital to enable future technology nodes,” Leese adds. “SAFC Hitech is positioning itself at the forefront of this material development with a number of advanced materials in production.”

“Silicon oxides and other ‘traditional’ materials have long been used as pre-metal dielectrics,” says Dr Peter Heys, director of R&D. “We are already employing oxides and binary oxides such as aluminum oxides, hafnium oxides, hafnium silicates and zirconium oxides and complex rare-earth oxides in our production processes. These metal oxides have a very high-k value and will continue to be widely exploited in the next couple of years if the industry stays on course with Moore’s law [whereby the number of transistors on an integrated circuit approximately doubles every 24 months] .”

“Over the course of the new roadmap, SAFC Hitech will be introducing more complex high-k oxides for silicon semiconductor manufacturing, such as hafnium zirconium based layers, which offer greater flexibility as they can be doped with other materials like silicon, nitrogen, aluminum, lanthanum and yttrium to meet individual customer requirements in creating a layer that functions well for a particular device design,” Heys adds. “Beyond that, the research and development of, for example, lanthanide and strontium chemistries, binary metals and complex metals oxides or iterations of oxides will facilitate the delivery of the 50-plus k values needed for future technology nodes.” This compares with a k value of just 3.9 for silicon dioxide.

“The materials that are going to be key in high-k dielectrics are those that possess the proper physical chemical characteristics and which meet or exceed the correct requirements in deposition capability across all device architectures,” concludes Leese. “These materials will possess the appropriate electrical properties and must be offered at an acceptable cost to consumers. Our new roadmap, combined with our experienced research and development team, excellent strategic partnerships and worldwide presence puts us in a position to fully satisfy the demands and expectations of the market,” he asserts.

See related items:

SAFC’s Hitech segment focusing on semiconductor sector

Epichem acquired by Sigma-Aldrich for $60m