New method to improve the durability of nano-electronic components and further semiconductor manufacturing – sciencedaily

Researchers at the University of South Florida recently developed a new approach to mitigate electromigration in nanoscale electronic interconnects that are ubiquitous in advanced integrated circuits. This was achieved by coating metal interconnects of copper with hexagonal boron nitride (hBN), an atomically thin two-dimensional (2D) insulating material that shares a structure similar to that of graphene “wonderful material”.

Electromigration is the phenomenon in which an electric current passing through a conductor causes atomic-scale erosion of the material, eventually leading to failure of the device. Conventional semiconductor technology addresses this challenge by using a barrier or coating material, but this takes up valuable space on the wafer that could otherwise be used to wrap more transistors. USF Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Michael Cai Wang’s approach achieves this same goal, but with the thinnest possible materials in the world, two-dimensional (2D) materials.

“This work presents new research opportunities on the interfacial interactions between metals and 2D materials at the ångström scale. Improving the performance of electronic and semiconductor devices is only one result of this research. . The results of this study open up new possibilities that can help advance future semiconductor and integrated circuit manufacturing, “Wang said.” Our new encapsulation strategy using monolayer hBN as a barrier material enables a on the additional scale of the device’s density and the progression of Moore’s Law. ”For reference, a nanometer is 1 / 60,000 the thickness of a human hair and an ångström is a tenth of a nanometer. 2D materials of such finesse require extreme precision and meticulous handling.

In their recent study published in the journal Advanced electronic materials, copper interconnects passivated with a single-layer hBN via a compatible back-end-of-line (BEOL) approach exhibited over 2,500% longer device life and over 20% higher current density than otherwise identical control devices. This improvement, along with the ångström fineness of hBN over conventional barrier / coating materials, allows for further densification of integrated circuits. These findings will help improve device efficiency and reduce energy consumption.

“With the growing demand for electric vehicles and autonomous driving, the demand for more efficient IT has grown exponentially. The promise of higher integrated circuit density and efficiency will enable the development of better ASICs (Application Specific Integrated Circuits) suited to these emerging clean energy needs. ”Explained Yunjo Jeong, a group alumnus de Wang and the study’s first author.

An average modern car has hundreds of microelectronic components, and the importance of these tiny but critical components has been particularly highlighted by the recent global shortage of chips. Making the design and manufacture of these integrated circuits more efficient will be key to mitigating possible future supply chain disruptions. Wang and his students are now exploring ways to speed up their process on a fabulous scale.

“Our findings are not limited only to electrical interconnects in semiconductor research. The fact that we have been able to achieve such a drastic improvement in interconnect devices implies that 2D materials can also be applied to a variety of applications. other scenarios. ” Wang added.

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Material provided by University of South Florida (USF Innovation). Note: Content can be changed for style and length.


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Richard V. Johnson