Scientists at Cornell University have used a modified home microwave oven to help overcome a critical obstacle to practical 2nm semiconductor production. The resulting microwave annealer is inspired by his TSMC theory on silicon doping with microwaves and phosphorus. As a result, semiconductor manufacturers have been able to exceed previous phosphorus concentration limits using newly devised equipment and techniques.
As semiconductor processes continue to shrink, silicon must be doped with increasingly higher concentrations of phosphorus to facilitate accurate and stable current delivery. As it stands, as the industry begins mass-producing his 3nm components, traditional annealing methods still work. But beyond his 3nm, the industry needs to ensure a phosphorus concentration higher than the equilibrium solubility in silicon. Consistency is essential not only for achieving higher concentration levels, but also for manufacturing functional semiconductor materials.
TSMC had previously theorized that microwaves could be used in the annealing (heating) process to increase the phosphorus doping concentration. However, microwave heating sources previously tended to generate standing waves, which adversely affected heating consistency. Simply put, previous microwave annealing equipment heated the contents unevenly.
Cornell University scientists were supported by TSMC and Taiwan’s Ministry of Science and Technology to conduct research on microwave annealing. In the resulting scientific paper shared by Cornell University earlier this week, the scientists said they “overcame the fundamental challenge of high stable doping over solubility” thanks to advanced microwave annealing methods. concluded.
You can read more about this research in the paper published by. applied physics letter “Efficient and stable activation of nanosheet silicon doped with phosphorus above the solubility limit by microwave annealing”. As the name of the paper suggests, this annealing technique is suitable for the latest nanosheet his transistor technology, which stacks transistors in layers. TSMC has already said that he will use 2nm nanosheets to make gate all around field effect transistors (GAAFETs).
James Hwang, a research professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and lead author of the paper, said: Cornell News Blog (opens in new tab)“This new microwave approach has the potential to enable major manufacturers such as TSMC and Samsung to scale down to just 2 nanometers.” Research continues and additional funding is already available.