Barrier to faster integrated circuits may be mere speed bump, scientists say

Jun 29, 2010

Integrated circuits, which enable virtually every electronics gadget you use on a daily basis, are constantly being pushed by the semiconductor industry to become smaller, faster, and cheaper. As has happened many times in the past and will continue in the future, integrated circuit scaling is perpetually in danger of hitting a wall that must be maneuvered around.

According to Maxime Darnon, a researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research, in order to continue increasing the speed of , interconnect insulators will require an upgrade to porous, low-dielectric constant materials. Darnon and colleagues discuss the details in the , which is published by the American Institute of Physics (AIP).

"The integration of a replacement, porous SiCOH (pSiCOH), however, poses serious problems such as an unacceptable 'roughening' that occurs during processing," explains Darnon. "This is considered a 'showstopper' to faster integrated circuits at the moment, so a fundamental understanding of the roughening mechanisms that occur during the etch process of integrated circuit manufacturing is highly desirable to material designers and etch-process engineers.

Darnon's research team proposes a mechanism for the roughening of pSiCOH materials etched in a fluorocarbon-based plasma. They've shown that the problematic roughness results from a cracking of the denser top surface under ion bombardment, and that this roughness propagates through a slower etching of the dense top surface than the modified porous material beneath it. Perhaps more importantly, the team recommends ways to minimize this phenomenon so that the "showstopper" will only be a speedbump on the road to faster integrated circuits.

Explore further: Hide and seek: Sterile neutrinos remain elusive

More information: The article, "Roughening of Porous SiCOH Materials in Fluorocarbon Plasmas" by Maxime Darnon et al will appear in the Journal of Applied Physics. See: jap.aip.org/

Provided by American Institute of Physics

3.6 /5 (8 votes)

Related Stories

Memristor chip could lead to faster, cheaper computers

Mar 17, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- The memristor is a computer component that offers both memory and logic functions in one simple package. It has the potential to transform the semiconductor industry, enabling smaller, faster, cheaper chips ...

Recommended for you

Hide and seek: Sterile neutrinos remain elusive

15 hours ago

The Daya Bay Collaboration, an international group of scientists studying the subtle transformations of subatomic particles called neutrinos, is publishing its first results on the search for a so-called ...

Novel approach to magnetic measurements atom-by-atom

19 hours ago

Having the possibility to measure magnetic properties of materials at atomic precision is one of the important goals of today's experimental physics. Such measurement technique would give engineers and physicists an ultimate ...

Scientists demonstrate Stokes drift principle

22 hours ago

In nature, waves – such as those in the ocean – begin as local oscillations in the water that spread out, ripple fashion, from their point of origin. But fans of Star Trek will recall a different sort of wave pattern: ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

CaptBarbados
not rated yet Jun 30, 2010
They need a pattern on that surface.

Much like the pattern that appears naturally, in underwater sand.