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Trio initiates Nanoanalysis project for IC devt

Posted: 12 Nov 2007     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:semiconductor structures and materials  characterization  metrology  nanoanalysis  chip development 

Advanced Micro Devices Inc., Qimonda AG and Carl Zeiss SMT are cooperating to bring future chip generations faster to volume production by improving characterisation and metrology.

The trio plans to jointly develop next-gen techniques to analyse and characterise semiconductor structures and materials. Within the joint "Nanoanalysis" project for chip development AMD and Qimonda will have preferred access to the recently founded Carl Zeiss Innovation Center in Dresden, Germany, which is equipped with particle beam systems. These include e-beam scanning microscopes and helium ion beam systems which enable non-destructive analysis of material properties at a resolution higher than gallium ion beam systems, explained a Carl Zeiss SMT spokesperson. The project is designed for three years and funded with Rs.67.53 crore (12 million) by the German federal government within its IKT2020 frame programme.

The analysis instruments provided by the Carl Zeiss Innovation Center enable materials researchers to depict, analyse and process samples down to the atomic layer, including three-dimensional semiconductor structure, the Carl Zeiss SMT spokesperson said. AMDs participation at the project aims at developing process-related techniques that help to speed volume production ramp-up. "We are faced with the challenge to drive chip structures smaller and yield higher," explained Udo Nothelfer, VP AMD Fab36. "Process control at the atom layer is very important to us."

Nothelfer added that while the access to the Carl Zeiss Innovation Center helps the company to speed the roll-out of future chip generations, the cooperation will also help Carl Zeiss SMT to develop analysis tools.

Similarly, Qimonda also aims at developing next-generation process analytics for its memory devices. "Today's chip feature sizes require electron microscopes to visualise single memory cells," explained Qimonda Dresden GmbH general manager Frank Prein. "Future challenges can only be mastered through the development of adequate analysis and metrology technology."

The funding of the project also aims at strengthening the Dresden region as one of Europe's most important semiconductor research and production agglomerations. Beyond the cooperation of AMD, Carl Zeiss and Qimonda, local research institutions such as Max Planck Institute and Fraunhofer Gesellschaft will also have access to the metrology and analysis technologies developed there, a Carl Zeiss spokesperson explained.

- Christoph Hammerschmidt
EE Times

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