3D transistor project wraps

February 7, 2011 — Siltronic AG, silicon wafer producer and a division of Wacker Chemie AG, has completed its SIGMADT research project on silicon-based starting materials for three-dimensional transistors.

It was supported for a period of 30 months by a €3 million grant to Siltronic AG from Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The objective of this basic research was to optimally adapt the properties of silicon wafers to the requirements of future three-dimensional transistors. As integration density continues to increase in the future, it will become even more difficult to make electronic components for complex applications in nanoelectronics — such as navigation systems or computer tomography equipment — on just one plane. To achieve higher efficiencies and lower energy consumption, the transition to the third dimension is an important step. To meet these challenges, it is absolutely essential to improve the quality of the starting material — which is the

The development of an innovative mechanical planarization step was an important technological result in making a decisive improvement to the topological variation of the wafer surface. This nanotopology is a crucial product parameter for the planarization of dielectric layers. It bridges the gap between local flatness, which is of importance in lithography, and micro-defect density and roughness, which is important for surface quality. The new technology not only promises certain advantages for surface topology, it is also particularly environmentally compatible, since the only byproducts are silicon and water. Other technological challenges addressed included improvements to local flatness at the edges and in the planeness of the 300mm wafer, as well as a reduction of micro-defect density on the surface of the wafer.

The product properties are now approaching values that will allow the silicon starting material to be used in the production of critical component dimensions below 32nm. Upon completion of the project, Siltronic will integrate the processes and tools developed into a market-ready process chain at the Burghausen and Freiberg sites for large-scale production of silicon wafers for the latest generation of components.

Funded as part of the German federal government’s high-tech strategy, SIGMADT made it possible to collaborate early in a strategic research field, which included IHP GmbH — Innovations for High Performance Microelectronics/Leibniz-Institut für innovative Mikroelektronik (Frankfurt/Oder), Semiconductor Technology Research (Erlangen), the Institute of Electrotechnology (Hanover) and NanoPhotonics AG (Mainz) as cooperating partners and subcontractors of Siltronic AG.

Siltronic provides hyperpure silicon wafers and partners with many top-tier chip manufacturers. Its production facilities in Europe, the USA, Asia and Japan develop and manufacture wafers with diameters of up to 300mm. To find out more, visit www.siltronic.com.

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