separate collaborations with fellow semiconductor manufacturing suppliers
have broadened KLA-Tencor's partnering efforts. A joint design for manufacturability
project with Synopsys will develop a compact yield analysis and modeling
system for Toshiba. The companies believe the system—which combines
Synopsys's TCAD models with KLA-Tencor's advanced yield analysis and
modeling tools—will allow the chipmaker to improve its parametric
yields on its advanced sub-100-nm system-on-a-chip (SoC) products by
predicting what impact process variations will have on final device
performance as they appear during large-scale integration production.
Toshiba says a critical goal of the project is to enable improved information
sharing between its IC design and process engineers in order to accelerate
the company's advanced process development and yield ramp efforts.
SoC product life cycles are typically shorter than other devices, less
process data can be collected to optimize the manufacturing process,
making it all the more imperative that we get our processes right the
first time," notes Shigeru Komatsu, Toshiba Semiconductor's chief knowledge
and infrastructure officer. "Having the ability to model device performance
based on real-time parametric yield data will allow us to make rapid
decisions during production to fine-tune our processes and optimize
our yields, as well as ensure we continue to meet our time-to-market
a partnership move targeted at the wafer-processing space, KLA-Tencor
and Dainippon Screen have taken ownership of Blue29. The Silicon Valley
start-up, which has developed an electroless film deposition technology
for copper interconnect, will become a wholly owned joint venture run
by the two equipment suppliers. Under the terms of the agreement, DNS
will provide a production system using Blue29's technology that meets
customer requirements, while KLA-Tencor will be responsible for global
sales, distribution, and support.
patented electroless film deposition technology has enormous potential
for improving copper electromigration and stress migration—a key
ingredient for achieving high reliability in copper devices," says Ken
Schroeder, CEO of KLA-Tencor. "With the understanding that copper is
fundamentally a wet process," adds DNS COO Takashige Suetake, "we expect
to extend our know-how related to fluid management and single-wafer
platform design and manufacturing into this market."
and AMD say they have developed a strained-silicon process that increases
transistor speed as much as 24% with no loss in power efficiency. The
chipmakers will implement the technology in 90-nm chips to be introduced
in the first half of 2005. The new strained process, called "dual stress
liner," enhances both pMOS and nMOS transistor performance by introducing
compressive strain in one and tensile strain in the other, according
to the two companies. They add that their researchers are the first
to simultaneously improve the performance of both transistor types—measured
as a function of gate delay at a given current leakage level—using
conventional materials. Chartered Semiconductor, Sony, and Toshiba engineers,
who were also involved in the development of the process, will have
access to the technology, although the respective companies have not
announced plans for its use.
and ASM International have produced samples of what they say is the
first industrially manufactured 300- mm strained silicon-on-insulator
(sSOI) wafers. The companies, which plan to extend their sSOI partnership,
report that the quality of the 300-mm wafers—based on such metrics
as strain value, silicon lattice deformation, strained-Si layer thickness,
surface roughness, and thermal budgets—corresponds very closely with
that achieved at 200 mm. The initial larger-diameter substrates are
thin-film sSOI for fully depleted architectures, while the thicker-film
sSOI wafers for partially depleted architectures will start sampling
in 1Q 2005, according to the partners.
the intellectual property front, Applied Materials will license AmberWave's
suite of strained-Si technology to use on its Centura RP epitaxial systems.
The equipment company says it has already sampled 300-mm strained-epi
wafers from a leading chipmaker for advanced device development. Devices
fabricated with AmberWave's technology, which can generate high levels
of strain on both bulk Si and SOI, have reportedly demonstrated up to
a 17% increase in speed and a 34% reduction in power consumption compared
with transistors fabricated with traditional silicon.
strategic partnership between a local IC design company and the largest
homegrown chipmaker underscores the growing technological sophistication
of the Chinese semiconductor industry. Shanghai Fangtek, a multimedia-SoC
design house, and SMIC, the world's fastest-growing foundry company,
have signed an agreement for continued and increased manufacturing of
Fangtek designs in SMIC's fabs.
foundry already produces four of its partner's IC designs in volume,
all of which are available to the global market. Fangtek introduced
what it calls the world's first integrated multimedia processor, which
integrates ADPCM, MIDI, MP3, and surround sound on a single chip, in
Schneider market APC
five years of working together in IBM fabs, Schneider Electric and Big
Blue will offer their integrated advanced process control solutions
(iAPC) to other chipmakers. The products and service package combines
the supplier's power, automation, and control systems and some third-party
technologies with IBM's On Demand business systems and expertise as
well as its Global Services delivery and implementation division. Integrated
APC includes add-on sensors, data collection, and fault detection systems
for monitoring and optimizing chipmaking processes, along with such
other components as plasma arc detection, particle monitoring, residual
gas analysis, and automatic endpoint systems.
the use of iAPC approaches, IBM says it has been able to decrease the
mean time to detection of abnormal operating conditions in its production
facilities in Burlington, VT, and East Fishkill, NY. The company has
also accelerated the recovery of optimal manufacturing operations when
anomalies do happen. As a result, IBM has seen multimillion-dollar returns
on investment from iAPC solutions based on the two partners' experience.
These technologies, now available to the merchant market, can be quickly
integrated in process tools and MES and automation systems in the fab.
unit targets service
new business unit at Trazar will integrate lifetime service plans with
the repair and maintenance of its own and other vendors' RF power generators
and RF automatic impedance matching (AIM) networks. The service and
repair unit is bolstered by the recent acquisition of RF Services by
Trazar, as well as the Santa Clara–based company's continuing AIM
networks sales, service, and applications support partnership with Metron
(now a separate service and support operation within Applied Materials'
Applied Global Service division). "Customers are looking for a one-stop
approach to RF service and system maintenance. This includes the service
and repair of other RF subsystems and access to additional fab services
not typically offered by other RF OEMs," says Gary Ater, Trazar's vp
of marketing and sales.