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Motorola Studies CMOS Insulator

Motorola, Nanjing U., and Institute of Physics study promising insulator material that may enable smaller, faster semiconductors

June 25, 2002

2 Min Read

BEIJING -- The DigitalDNA Laboratories of Motorola's (NYSE: MOT) Semiconductor Products Sector (SPS), along with Nanjing University and the Institute of Physics of Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), have jointly characterized the excellent material properties of lanthanum aluminate films. These properties make this material one of the strongest potential candidates for a new gate insulator for smaller, faster CMOS integrated circuits of the future. By pushing out the limits of the semiconductor industry's "Moore's Law," thereby enabling continued scaling down in chip size, lanthanum aluminate (LAO) and lanthanum aluminum oxynitride (LAON) could replace the silicon dioxide as a gate dielectric in MOSFET (Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor) devices for the 65 nanometer technology node and beyond without requiring extensive modification of the manufacturing equipment or process flow. This prognosis results from a two-year joint research project focused on high dielectric constant materials between Motorola and two members of China's top research community, Nanjing University and Institute of Physics of CAS. The combination of separate, concurrent research between Motorola and each institution over this period has developed into a strategic research partnership among the three organizations. "When Motorola began its research into high dielectric constant materials several years ago, LAO and LAON were among roughly a half-dozen candidates we identified," said Joe Mogab, vice president and director of Advanced Process Development and External Research for SPS. "Recognizing that we did not have the resources to carry out a parallel evaluation of all these materials internally, we decided to extend an ongoing research relationship with Nanjing University, and to initiate a new collaboration with the Institute of Physics of Chinese Academy of Sciences. These strategic research partnerships have allowed us to tap into a wealth of materials expertise to accelerate evaluation of these materials." Many materials are currently under consideration within the industry as potential replacements for silicon dioxide as the gate dielectric material for 65nm CMOS technology. However, most of these materials, which have a dielectric constant greater than 20, either are not thermodynamically stable in direct contact with silicon, or generate diffusion problems, which cause significant degradation of device performance. LAO and LAON demonstrate the best thermal stability among all known-possible high dielectric constant (greater than 20) materials and can also be economically integrated into a traditional CMOS process flow. Motorola Inc.

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