SAN JOSE, Calif. - Is South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. switching gears in high-k?
Initially, Samsung plans to roll out a gate-first, high-k technology. As previously reported, the technology will be offered at the 32- and 28-nm nodes for foundry customers, which will be rolled out this year.
The plot thickens. At the 2010 IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting in San Francisco next week, Samsung will present a paper on a rival technology: ''gate-last high-k/metal gate devices.''
''Gate last high-k/metal gate compatible source/drain (S/D) stress-memorization-technology (SMT) is presented. Channel stress is simulated by using mask-edge dislocation model and actual stress is also measured by Raman spectroscopy. Extremely deep pre-amorphization-implant for SMT enhances short-channel electron mobility by 40-60 percent. More than 10 percent short channel drive current gain is achieved,'' according to a preview of Samsung's paper.
At a recent event, Samsung sent a message to the foundry industry: Itís ready for a big push in 32-nm production with high-k.In June, South Korea's Samsung said its foundry business qualified a 32-nm low-power process with a high-k/metal-gate technology. The company lays claim to being the first foundry to ''qualify'' a high-k/metal-gate technology. This is based on a gate-first technology.
Some believe Samsung is exploring a move to bring gate-last in production after 28-nm.
If so, this would be a major departure from Samsung's original position. The gate-first technology was developed and is now being touted by IBM Corp.'s ''fab club.'' IBM, Infineon, GlobalFoundries, NEC, Samsung, ST, Toshiba and others are part of IBM's technology alliance.
The camp is far behind Intel Corp., which has shipped 45- and 32-nm processors based on its gate-last, high-k technology.
Why is smasung shifting to gate-last for 28nm, will it give any extra advantage or its not possible with gate-first approach ? . And if smasung shifts to gate-last approach is it big blow to IBM which is embracing gate-first technology ?
The gate-first approach makes it hard to control the transistor threshold voltage especially for p-channel devices. Only by exposing the metal gates to low process temperature (gate-last) can one control both the p-channel and n-channel device threshold voltages at the tight levels required for such advanced technology.
I wonder if they have "discovered" something about gate-first, high-k technology. If Intel is shipping the gate-last, high-k technology it must be a viable technology. What would make Samsung switch? Is there more to this story than meets the eye?
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