MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--Copper interconnect technology still faces barriers before becoming widely used in wafer fabs, but a majority of respondents to a new industry survey said they believe copper-based ICs will move into volume production and account for at least 10% of total chip shipments in two to three years.
The survey was conducted in July and August by Philips Analytical, a subsidiary of Royal Philips Electronics N.V., and the Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) trade group. The sponsors today released a few top-line findings from the poll, which covered chip makers, material suppliers, equipment vendors, and research organizations. A total of 265 participants responded to the survey, said the sponsors.
Philips Analytical and SEMI are scheduled to release more details from the copper survey at the Semicon Southwest trade show in Austin, Tex., on Oct. 19. The survey was conducted to help the industry understand challenges in using copper and to gauge opinions in the industry. The poll focused on the 0.18-, 0.13- and 0.1-micron technology nodes for logic and memory devices (see July 9 story).
Philips and SEMI said their survey shows 63.7% of the respondents believing copper-based semiconductors will be in full volume production, accounting for about 10% of the total unit shipments in the 2001/2002 time frame.
When asked about the principal barriers for greater acceptance of copper processing, respondents said "availability" was the biggest problem (46.6%), followed by "performance" (39%) and "price" (32.2%).
However, the top-line results from the survey of 265 respondents shows a relative high degree of optimism about copper technology--76.8% said the current level of acceptance of copper-based chips among customers was "moderate to high," while 41.6% put the level at "above average."