Applied Materials Announces Atomic-Level Film Treatment to Reduce Chip Power Consumption

Applied Materials, Inc. today announced a breakthrough technology for reducing power consumption in semiconductor chips with its new Applied Producer® OnyxTM film treatment system. By optimizing the molecular structure of the low k films that insulate the miles of wiring, or interconnects, on each chip, the Producer Onyx system enables customers to continue their relentless drive to fabricate faster, more power-efficient logic devices as they scale to 22nm and below.

“The interconnect represents approximately one-third of the total power consumed by a chip and reducing this power is essential to achieving higher performance and longer battery life in advanced logic devices,” said Bill McClintock, vice president and general manager of Applied’s Dielectric Systems and Modules business unit. “With the Onyx system, we’re offering a unique treatment capability that delivers the most power-efficient interconnects in the industry, while increasing mechanical strength, making the chip robust to better withstand the challenge of emerging 3-D packaging applications. Multiple Producer Onyx systems are already in pilot production for advanced logic device manufacturing.”

With each successive technology node, interconnect wires get closer to one another, increasing the potential forparasitic capacitance, or crosstalk, between adjacent lines – which wastes power and restricts switching speed. Reducing capacitance, by lowering the k-value of the insulating material that separates and supports these structures, is a key component in ensuring continued improvement in performance and battery life.

Applied’s proprietary Onyx technology drives carbon and silicon into the porous dielectric film to reinforce the insulating material at the atomic level. The treatment decreases the k-value by up to 20%, delivering a significant reduction in chip power consumption. In addition, the process increases the stiffness of the dielectric, enabling it to withstand the stress of hundreds of subsequent processes and packaging steps.