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The semiconductor industry forecasts a doubling of the performances of electronic components every 18 months. However, the current printing technology - lithography - has to address the physical constraints of ever-greater miniaturization of silicon chips. CEA-Leti and Arkema, in association with LCPO (Laboratoire de Chimie des Polymères Organiques) of Bordeaux, have succeeded in going beyond the boundaries of the infinitely small by showing the unique resolution potential of lithography based on nanostructured polymers. These initial results meet the requirements of the next 4 generations of electronic chips. Building on this success, CEA-Leti and Arkema have created a development platform dedicated to this technology.
As part of their joint laboratory, Arkema and CEA-Leti, with the help of Professor Hadziioannou's team of LCPO, have successfully obtained a 20 nanometer (nm) pitch* and reduced the diameter of contacts down to 7 nm thanks to nanostructured polymers, thereby demonstrating the compatibility of this technology for technological nodes ranging from 20 nm to sub-10 nm.
A collaborative research platform
On the strength of these initial positive results, Arkema and CEA-Leti have created IDEAL (Insertion of DSA** lithography for CMOS*** application), a collaborative research platform dedicated to the development and industrialization of lithography based on nanostructured polymers. This platform relies on CEA-Leti's expertise in process and electronic component integration, and on Arkema's know-how in the development and industrialization of nanostructured polymers. These complementary capabilities will help adapt materials and processes to achieve optimum results and make the technology available to the semiconductor industry without delay.
Going beyond the boundaries of « classic » lithography
The semiconductor industry has had to contend with the limits of conventional optical lithography for several years now. The cost and the problems encountered with the EUV**** technology undermine the feasibility of the technological roadmap of micro-electronics. Lithography by self-assembly (or nanostructuring) of polymers is a highly promising technological alternative due to its low manufacturing costs and its straightforward integration in existing processes for the manufacture of microprocessors and other electronic chips.
Since the early 2000s, Arkema has been developing for various applications a block copolymer technology that yields innovative nanostructured materials boasting a wide range of properties, some of which are particularly suited to self-assembled lithography.
CEA-Leti operates at the heart of developments for the most advanced CMOS technologies within its 300 mm pilot line and in partnership with this sector's world players.
« The creation of this platform is an initial success for our brand-new collaboration, and it illustrates the importance of combining material, process and integration know-how at an early stage. It also bears testimony to Arkema's ability to develop new copolymers and to adapt its industrial resources to this demanding micro-electronics sector in terms of product performance and purity », declares Ian Cayrefourcq, Director Emerging Technologies at Arkema.
« Lithography based on nanostructured copolymers opens up very encouraging prospects in terms of performance and cost for the semiconductor industry. Cooperation between Arkema, an innovative world-leading chemical company, and CEA-Leti, a world-renowned institute in the integration of CMOS technologies, will help develop materials and processes directly transferrable and compatible with the industry's standards », points out Laurent Malier, CEA-Leti Director.
* Pitch: distance separating two interconnecting lines
** DSA: Directed Self-Assembly
*** CMOS: Complementary Metal Oxide Silicon
**** EUV: Extreme Ultra Violet
Leti (Laboratoire d'Électronique de Technologie de l'Information) is an institute of CEA, a French research and technology organization with activities in energy, IT, healthcare, defense and security. Leti is focused on creating value and innovation through technology transfer to its industrial partners. It specializes in micro- and nanotechnologies and their applications, from wireless devices and systems, to biology, healthcare and photonics, as well as in Micro-Nano Systems (MNS). An anchor of the MINATEC campus, CEA-Leti operates 8,000-m² of state-of-the-art clean room space on 200mm and 300mm wafer platforms. It counts 1,700 scientists and engineers, including 240 Ph.D. students and post-doctoral researchers and 200 assignees from partner companies. CEA-Leti owns more than 1,880 patent families.
For more information, visit www.leti.fr
A global chemical company and France’s leading chemicals producer, Arkema is building the future of the chemical industry every day. Deploying a responsible, innovation-based approach, we produce state-of-the-art specialty chemicals that provide customers with practical solutions to such challenges as climate change, access to drinking water, the future of energy, fossil fuel preservation and the need for lighter materials. With operations in more than 40 countries, some 13,200 employees and 9 research centers, Arkema generates annual revenue of €5.9 billion*, and holds leadership positions in all its markets with a portfolio of internationally recognized brands. The world is our inspiration.
*Sales and headcount for continuing activities at end 2011, excluding vinyl products activities, which are part of a divestment plan.
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