The Endura® system is recognized as the most successful metallization tool in the history of the semiconductor industry. Since its introduction, through continuous infusions of new innovations and process technologies, it has enabled customers to advance Moore’s Law from the .75 micron node to today’s sub-20 nanometer nodes, and can continue beyond to sub-10 nanometer designs.
To appreciate what made the Endura a truly landmark system, and how the value it provides has been sustained over decades, I'd like to reference the recent VLSIresearch feature and highlight some key points.
Every year, media outlets publish year-end reviews and outlooks for the New Year. Solid State Technology, a leading magazine providing the latest electronics manufacturing news, analysis and product information related to semiconductor manufacturing features an annual outlook and invited Randhir Thakur, Executive Vice President, General Manager, Silicon Systems Group, Applied Materials to give his assessment of the major trends for 2014. He identified the shifts to 20 nanometer designs, FinFET transistors and 3D NAND as the game-changing innovations and discussed how Applied is focused on providing the precision materials engineering solutions to address the challenges involved in advancing these technologies.
This week I’ll be participating in a panel discussion at the Flash Memory Summit in Santa Clara, CA. The panel’s topic, Flash Below 20nm: What is Coming and When?, couldn’t be more timely. Particularly in light of a leading NAND manufacturer’s recent announcement that they will begin mass production of the semiconductor industry’s first 3D vertical NAND flash memory later this year.
3D NAND presents some significant changes to the traditional semiconductor manufacturing model.
With the 5th Annual International Memory Workshop (IMW) coming up next week in Monterey, CA I wanted to point out a recent article from Semiconductor Manufacturing & Design. As the cell-to-cell interference issues characteristic of sub-20nm manufacturing processes threaten to keep NAND from moving to smaller nodes, the major players in the NAND flash market are looking at different approaches to implementing NAND in a 3D chip architecture. The article provides a great summary of the different approaches to 3D NAND customers are adopting and when to expect those technologies to hit the market.
Mobility is the biggest influence shaping the semiconductor industry and is the main driver of chip development. Smartphone sales are expected to surpass 700 million units growing at a 50% growth rate year over year and demand for tablets is set to exceed 110 million units growing at an 85% rate year over year. The race to manufacture chips for the surging mobile markets is driving the industry to explore new materials and technologies to enable essential breakthroughs for higher, more power-efficient performance. For the PC market, we will see the advent of Ultrabooks and the new Windows 8 operating system – both of which can spur a technology upgrade cycle and drive growth.
Below is a short excerpt of an article I submitted to IEEE Spectrum that looks at the emerging memory technologies being considered to help smartphones and tablets meet the demand for more energy efficient data storage. To access the complete article, visit the IEEE Spectrum web site.
"Our smartphones and ultrathin laptops rely on a triumvirate of memory technologies—SRAM, DRAM, and flash—each customized for a specific purpose. They’ve all been fabulous workhorses, but now these memories are struggling to keep up with the steady demand for chips that are faster, cheaper, more reliable, and more energy efficient.
Every two years, your hard-earned dollar buys twice as much memory capacity. This “law” has held true for decades, and shows no sign of slowing. Sixty years ago, a state-of-the-art memory device was a tube full of mercury, with 500 bits of data stored as acoustic waves travelling up and down between transducers at either end. Today, Flash memory cards containing more than a hundred billion bits can be found at the supermarket, next to the chewing gum.
This relentless progress is the result of the hard work of thousands of researchers and engineers around the globe who are dedicated to advancing memory technology. A few hundred of those technologists (and this humble blogger) met earlier this week at the 2011 IEEE International Memory Workshop in Monterey, California to discuss the future of memory technology.