Intel goes gigga

Intel goes gigga
Intel heads for 0.13?m production which will produce gigaherz chips by year end; No need for copper technology until after 2002; already has 900MHz 16Mbit SRAM. David Manners aIntel is ramping up a 0.13?m volume production process expected to produce gigahertz microprocessors by the end of the year. It also expects it to be its workhorse process until 2002 and sees no need to move to copper technology until after then. Intel’s Fab20 in Oregon, where the process was developed, is now being turned over to full production with the process which delivers etched polysilicon gates with a width of 0.13?m. Within one year two more production fabs will have the process installed. It has already delivered a 900MHz 16Mbit SRAM. According to Pierre Mirjolet, Intel’s architecture marketing manager, “before year’s end it is very likely it will demonstrate gigahertz microprocessors”. Intel is using 245nm wavelength steppers to produce the 130nm feature sizes. Mirjolet would not confirm it is using phase shift mask techniques but no one has found another way of doing this. Intel does not expect to use copper interconnect until 2002. “The technology is not yet at the point where it is cost-effective,” said Mirjolet. “The equipment is immature and the yield is worse than aluminium.” He said that aluminium interconnects could be made larger than copper interconnects which outweighed much of the resistance advantage of copper. With half a logic chip’s area taken up with interconnect, Intel has given a higher priority to improving the performance of the interconnect than to improving the performance of the transistors or memory cells, said Mirjolet. By using fluorine doping in the 0.13?m process, capacitance had been reduced by 15 per cent and interconnect performance increased by 15 per cent, he said. At the end of 2001, Intel will move to 193nm wavelength steppers and, after that, to 157nm machines until, it hopes, its ‘extreme UV’ technology becomes available – probably in 2005 – which delivers 13nm wavelengths.


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