NEW YORK Ultratech said Wednesday (June 25) it has optimized its laser thermal processing (LTP) technology to form junctions down in the 20-nm technology node, and is now ready to enter the commercialization phase of its LTP program.
The company claimed the ability to activate extremely shallow junctions and contacts in just nanoseconds during wafer tests under a host of different processing conditions. This marks a significant step for manufacturing chips with less than 65-nm linewidths.
Ultratech (San Jose, Calif.) said it has generated test results on both product and test wafers that address the scalability requirements of the ITRS (International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors) requirements. The results demonstrated abrupt profile junctions with high surface concentrations down to the 20 nm technology node.
Tests also show that process results are relatively insensitive to device and wafer pattern densities. This is essential to integrating LTP technology into diverse manufacturing environments.
The company's first commercial product based on the LTP will be for laser spike annealing, which will enable ultra-shallow junction formations for multiple generations, according to the company.
Ultratech has worked with several leading chip makers in both the U.S. and Japan to validate the technology, and has laser annealed thousands of 200- and 300-mm wafers. It holds more than 20 patents on the technology, with 40 more pending.
"LTP will be needed for the 65nm and below technology nodes, and will be especially important to future system-on-chip and microprocessor devices," Somit Talwar, Ultratech's vice president of laser technology, said in a statement. "LTP's has the unique ability to rapidly anneal and activate junctions and contacts, without impacting thermal budgets, prior process steps or some of the heat-intolerant device regions found in today's highly integrated SoC devices."
LTP has the potential to become a successor to rapid thermal processing. In Ultratech's case, the precision capabilities of projection lithography have been combined with the near-instantaneous heating properties of laser-enabling thermal processing, according to Talwar.