Sony, Toshiba and NEC Electronics Corp., said on Thursday they
had jointly developed technology to mass produce cutting-edge
The platform developed by the three Japanese companies will be
used to make system chips, which combine multiple functions on a
sliver of silicon, using 45-nanometre technology, the firms said
in a joint press release. This technology was unveiled on
December 13 (US Pacific Standard Time) at Session 27.2 of the
2006 International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) in San
Chip makers worldwide are locked in a race to lower production
costs on 90-, 65- and 45-nanometre chips, with the smaller
circuitry widths allowing more power per chip for complex
The three companies are developing a platform for low-power
system chips, to be completed in early 2007.
Toshiba and NEC Electronics are also working to standardize
technology to make advanced chips with circuitry width of
45-nanometres or finer with Fujitsu and Renesas Technology Corp.
The key elements of the new platform are a fully renovated MOSFET
integration scheme, and a hybrid structure with a low dielectric
constant (low-k) film that assures high performance and
The MOSFET integration process applies strained silicon
technology to the transistor, utilizing crystal lattice
distortion to induce performance-boosting local strain at key
locations. Optimization of the strain boosts transistor
performance to a level 30% faster than that achieved in the
present generation of technology.
Application of a low-k film in the intermediate metal layer of
the chip during the back-end process reduces parasitic
capacitance and improves circuit performance. The three partners
confirmed a dielectric gate film with an effective 15-year
lifetime, a span surpassing the average lifetime of a high
performance LSI. They also carried out tests of the platform and
proved a layer yield of over 98% for the challenging back-end
process, confirming that the technology achieves the reliability
essential for mass production.
In addition, the partners have led the industry in applying
immersion lithography technology with an ultra-high numerical
aperture (NA) of over 1.0 to formation of the transistor node,
achieving a cell with an area of 0.248 micron m2 in an ultra high
density SRAM. The new cell is the smallest yet achieved.
The three companies are simultaneously developing two 45nm
processes -- the current platform, which is ideal for high
performance LSIs, as well as a platform for applications with low
power consumption requirements, which is expected to be completed
in early 2007.