The 66th IEDM is to be held virtually from 12 to 16 December, due to the Covid-19 pandemic but the online streaming could potentially boost consumption of content focused on the design, manufacturing, physics and modelling of semiconductor and related device technologies.

Notable papers this year include a presentation by authors from TSMC on its 5nm manufacturing process (paper 9.2) and from Samsung on its 5LPE 5nm manufacturing process (paper 20.1). These processes are already in commercial use while some of the more academic papers may be of significant interest for what may be coming in the next five years or so.

Although Europe has a diminishing market share in semiconductor manufacturing it is notable that research institute IMEC is the most prolific of authoring entities in this year’s program. An IMEC affiliation from one or more authors is found on 27 of 230 technical papers due to be presented. It is therefore no surprise that Sri Samavedam, senior vice president of CMOS at IMEC, has been asked to given one of the three keynote papers.

Samavedam’s talk is entitled: “Future logic scaling: towards atomic channels and deconstructed chips.” This would appear to be a reference to the experiments being made in doping the active channels in various physical transistor layouts and the trend away from monolithic integration towards using 3D packaging to combine ‘chiplets’ made in heterogeneous manufacturing processes.

Both the 3D trends and the channel doping are well represented throughout the conference.

Next: MRAM versus ferroelectric

Reflecting matters closer to market Globalfoundries has a paper on its embedded MRAM non-volatile memory for 22nm FDSOI (11.3) while TSMC does the same for embedded MRAM in its 16nm FinFET process (11.4). STMicroelectronics is due to present a paper on embedded phase-change memory in 28nm FDSOI and its suitability for automotive applications (paper 24.2) although it is notable that ST has been touting this capability for a couple of years (see MCUs with embedded PCM meet automotive needs).

Despite the near-term success of MRAM as the embedded non-volatile memory of choice at geometries below 28nm it is notable that at this year’s IEDM papers on ferroelectric materials – almost universally hafnium-oxide –  far exceed those on MRAM. There are 21 papers that touch on ferroelectric materials and FETs compared with 12 on MRAM.

One paper with lead authors from Fraunhofer IPMS discusses hafnium oxide ferroelectric as a back-end-of-line material for use as an energy harvester for use within ICs (24.2).

Early registration end on November 20. Up until then non-members of the IEEE can register for access to the event at a reduced rate of US$330 rising to US$380 thereafter.

Related links and articles:

News articles:

IEDM 2020 plans for virtual meeting

MCUs with embedded PCM meet automotive needs

ST samples MCU with embedded phase-change memory

ST opts for phase-change memory on 28nm FDSOI

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