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High-k/Metal gate transistors going into production at Intel, IBM and AMD

  1. Jan 27, 2007 #1

    Hans de Vries

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    After many years of research, micro processors will be build of transistors
    using different materials as have been the case in the past 40 years:

    "Gordon Moore, 78, came out of retirement, where he spends some of his time
    in Hawaii, to issue a statement Friday about the Intel team's innovation.
    He said Intel's use of high-k and metal materials ``marks the biggest change
    in transistor technology'' since Intel's pioneering use of polysilicon in 1969."

    Transistor scaling could not continue when the isolating SiO2 dielectric
    that separates the Gate of CMOS transistor from the conducting Channel
    became 1.2 nm or just five molecules thick. Experimental transistors which
    reached a thickness of 0.8 nm were to leaky to be used in production.

    The solution to continue scaling now is to use materials which have a far
    higher dielectric constant so that the isolating layer can be much thicker.
    Hafnium based compounds are used while the traditional material used for
    the gate, polysilicon, is replaced by metals.

    Rather, surprisingly, after many years of difficult progress in research, both
    Intel and IBM/AMD now announced that this new technique will go into
    mass production for their micro processors. Intel will roll out chips at the
    end of the year while IBM and AMD plan to do so in mid 2008.


    Regards, Hans
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 27, 2007 #2


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    This is written a little misleadingly (from the first link above):

    What is "high-k metal"? By using that terminology, they're making it look like they're using some new kind of metal called 'high-k metal', rather than a combination of a high-k dielectric and a metal. It would be less confusing if they just used a forward slash between 'high-k' and 'metal'.

    I think this is marlon's area, and he's been working on it for a few years now, as have all the big chipmakers, from Intel to Micron and Samsung. I was expecting the engineering breakthrough to come from the RAM builders.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2007
  4. Jan 28, 2007 #3
    Samsung 70 nm DRAM uses high-k HfAlO. I think they even changed it at least once.
  5. Jan 31, 2007 #4

    Hans de Vries

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    Technical 45 nm high k / metal gate paper from IBM, AMD, Sony and Toshiba.


    High-Performance High-k/Metal Gates for 45nm CMOS and
    Beyond with Gate-First Processing

    Gate-first integration of band-edge (BE) high-k/metal gate nFET
    devices with dual stress liners and silicon-on-insulator substrates for the
    45nm node and beyond is presented. We show the first reported
    demonstration of improved short channel control with high-k/metal
    gates (HK/MG) enabled by the thinnest Tinv (<12Å) for BE nFET
    devices to-date, consistent with simulations showing the need for <14Å
    Tinv at Lgate<35nm. We report the highest BE HK/MG nFET Idsat
    values at 1.0V operation. We also show for the first time BE high-
    k/metal gate pFET’s fabricated with gate-first high thermal budget
    processing with thin Tinv (<13Å) and low Vts appropriate for pFET
    devices. The reliability in these devices was found to be consistent with
    technology requirements. Integration of high-k/metal gate nFET’s into
    CMOS devices yielded large SRAM arrays.

    Regards, Hans
  6. Feb 1, 2007 #5
    Actually it was 90 nm design rule but 70 nm gate, but the high-k was AlO/HfO

  7. Feb 1, 2007 #6


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    SciAm has a related article online.

    The Magic Ingredients in Intel's New, Tinier Transistor

    I was initially puzzled by the use of high-k, since I use it for thermal conductivity (rather than the dielectric constant). But then I realized that this was microelectronics and likely 'k' had to do with another property, which is explained in the article.
  8. Feb 1, 2007 #7

    Hans de Vries

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    Very innovative device. Also one of the very first devices to use ALD,
    Atomic Layer Deposition, in a high volume production process.

    Depositing single atom thick layers one at a time, ALD tutorial:
    http://www.cambridgenanotech.com/papers/Atomic Layer Deposition tutorial Cambridge NanoTech Inc.pdf

    Rather rudimentary ALD wikipage: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomic_layer_deposition

    Regards, Hans
  9. Feb 1, 2007 #8

    Hans de Vries

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    Of course this is all based on industry wide research, often joint pre-
    competitive research in institutes like IMEC (where Marlon is doing his
    PHd on this subject) and SEMATEC.

    There was a SEMATEC announcement at the same day :smile: here:


    Claiming a high k/ metal gate breakthrough! (Gate first, like IBM,AMD,Sony,Toshiba)

    There is also NEC with its 55 nm process:

    Regards, Hans
  10. Feb 10, 2007 #9
    Was wondering whether high-k is overkill (for the time being)? For example, silicon nitride has a dielectric constant that is roughly double that of silicon dioxide, yet it is definitely easier to integrate than the more exotic materials. Could easily get at least a couple of generations out of it. A material with an extremely high dielectric constant (>10) has less scaling effect on EOT (since its electrical thickness is reduced by the large dielectric constant factor), so in fact a mild increase in dielectric constant would make more sense for scaling.
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