—CHEMISTRY IS KEY TO NEW INSULATORS, BARRIER FILMS “” Hafnium oxide, nickel silicide, bismuth strontium titanate: These are some of the exotic materials that will be finding their way into semiconductors in the years ahead. The challenge for chemical firms is finding the right way to apply these new materials. Hafnium oxide, for example, is getting a lot of attention as a next-generation gate insulation material. In semiconductors, gate insulators separate the gate, which turns current flow on and off, from the channel through which the current flows. Today’s gate insulators are made of silicon dioxide. As these insulators are thinned to support higher switching speeds, however, they tend to let electrons leak through, increasing power consumption.
by MICHAEL MCCOY, C&EN NORTHEAST NEWS BUREAU |
August 02, 2004