The International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors is adding a chapter on emerging research materials, expected in time for the 2007 roadmap coming in December.
The effort thus far involves more than 40 chemists and materials scientists from industry, government labs, and academia, organized into a series of working groups. This year, the effort will move from information-gathering workshops to a cross-cutting phase, and then the writing of the ITRS chapter.
The current ITRS roadmap includes a highly readable chapter on emerging research devices. The broad conclusion is that while great progress is being made in emerging memories such as phase-change, MRAM, and molecular memories, the bigger challenge is to develop logic devices which can complement CMOS by 2020 and beyond.
Daniel J.C. Herr, director of nanomanufacturing sciences at the Semiconductor Research Corp., and Michael Garner, who manages Intel’s external research effort in materials, are co-chairing the emerging research materials (ERM) chapter. The National Science Foundation has funded part of the materials assessment effort, including the ESH (environment, safety, and health) impacts.
Herr, who earlier worked as a chemist at Shipley’s resist division, is doing research on self-assembling materials for lithography, which could lead to resists with better dimensional controls and improved line edge roughness (LER). If self-assembling materials can also be found for interconnects and devices, the industry will move into a realm of exciting possibilities.
Nature is the great teacher for directed self-assembling materials, Herr said, noting how quickly the cells of a human fetus grow and assemble themselves into a human.
The emerging research materials group also is studying carbon nanotubes and nanoparticles; macromolecules; strongly correlated electron state materials; hetero-structures and interfaces, and spin materials.
These nanomaterials are – who really knows? -- one or two decades away from entering commercial semiconductor fabs. By the end of this year, however, the EMR chapter should be up on the ITRS Web site, giving readers an informed perspective on the long-term future of electronic materials.