While lateral scaling trends will continue through the 7nm and 5nm nodes, device designers and manufacturers increasingly rely on disruptive innovations in the areas of patterning, device design and materials to enable the density and performance gains that are required at each successive technology node. In particular, materials innovation is critical to the continuation of Moore’s Law, and materials usage continues to grow as the number of process steps and lithography layers increases at a non linear rate. While enabling, such innovations increase process complexity and introduce challenging contamination issues making yield ramps more challenging. With the schedule between first customer samples and high volume ramp compressing rapidly, speed-to-yield is key to success in the foundry and IDM market. The economics of Moore’s Law requires that process complexity, yield challenges, cycle time and the number of mask layers be addressed to maintain the technology roadmap. Compounding this challenge, the requirements for materials purity and defectivity continue to increase. Decreasing metal wiring pitch necessitates a reduction in total particle size and count, and key process areas in the fab measure purity in the parts-per-quadrillion level. Particularly challenging is the material supply chain that spans several months and a number of continents as chemistries progress from the point of manufacture to the point of use on a wafer. Material enablement is required throughout this long and complex supply chain, and materials suppliers must take on a wider range of responsibilities to do so. In this environment, it is no longer sufficient for materials providers simply to manufacture clean chemistry. Successful materials suppliers must also provide:
- A comprehensive set of engineering capabilities to bring solutions to market
- The speed of execution to iterate new material given the long process cycle times for new nodes
- Analytical capabilities to quickly solve problems that occur during the product ramp
- Manufacturing capability and agility to respond to changing requirements
- Supply chain expertise and relationships with sub-suppliers
Materials will continue to play an increasing role in achieving performance gains as new transistor architectures are introduced. Therefore, process complexity will continue to be a headwind for the transition to new process nodes. Materials suppliers that develop solutions that reduce complexity without sacrificing performance will gain market share. In this environment, a holistic systems approach is needed to meet future defectivity requirements and enable customer yield ramps. Broadly capable materials suppliers are best positioned to support the global supply chain in the semiconductor industry.