New materials show promise for deep submicron

New materials show promise for deep submicron
Tom Foremski
Lucent Technologies’ Bell Laboratories has created new materials it says show promise as chip insulators that will help manufacture chips with feature sizes below 0.1 micron.
Bell researchers have developed insulation materials from zirconium, tin and titanium oxides that are compatible with current chip production techniques yet are seven times more effective than current silicon dioxide insulators.
“Silicon dioxide is bumping into performance limits as semiconductor feature sizes shrink below 0.10 microns, a size the Semiconductor Industry Association predicts the industry will be producing in about eight years,” said Mark Pinto, chief technical officer for Lucent’s Microelectronics Group.
The three insulators were discovered from an analysis of 120,000 different insulating materials using a technique called continuous composition spread that allows researchers to produce thousands of samples simultaneously, with each sample varying slightly in chemical composition.


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