The Platform for Advanced Characterisation Grenoble (PAC-G) is an innovative service platform whose aim is to bridge the gap between the large-scale research facilities of Grenoble and companies in the micro/nano electronics sector. The PAC-G brings together the capabilities of the European Synchrotron (ESRF), the European Neutron Source (ILL) and the GENESIS neutron platform (LPSC/CNRS), with the support of the CEA-Leti, to enable ground-breaking innovation and technological development within the semiconductor industry. Since 2017, Rafael is leading the development of the PAC-G and will present at the next iMNC some advances in industrial research allowed by these unique advanced characterisation tools.
How science support industry
Often seen as two different worlds, science and industry evolve together. As industry addresses specific market needs, R&D activities (and in broader perspective: science) provide the key enabling technologies to do so. Think of it as building bricks: people want houses with particular characteristics => that constitutes a market. The industry is responsible for the construction and the assembly of those houses. As for Science and Research, they develop the bricks and the tools needed to build those structures.
This metaphor is particularly true when it comes to microelectronics. For years, joint collaborative research efforts were made in order to continue scaling down transistor sizes. This would in turn allow higher performance, lower price and lower power microchips that would trigger the development of that new ultrafast computer or that super cool smartphone. In a sense, the whole industry advanced together in one very well-known direction.
Recently, with technology nodes down to some tens of nanometres scaling has shown its limitations and this logic inversed its direction. As instance, it is the customer need for connected objects that drives the technological developments and specification for IoT devices. Consequently, a whole set of new technologies came to light, in different sizes, shapes and compositions, in order to allow new product developments: TSVs, bonding techniques, heterogeneous integration, copper pillars for flip-chips, new wafer-level packaging technologies, new materials, advanced substrates, bandgap engineering, III-V materials and so on. This “soup” of technological choices demands a lot of basic and applied research. More than ever, industry and science are tightly holding hands together.
This trend also poses a series of challenges regarding the reliability of these new products and processes. This is where the large-scale facilities come in handy: the quality, flexibility and power of these instruments enable sustainable innovation and technological advancements through characterisation tests, applicable from atomic scale to whole electronic systems.
With the speech “Large Scale instruments tackling nanoscale characterization challenges in microelectronics” at the International MicroNano Conference 2018, Rafael will go through three application cases illustrating how these research facilities can support growth and competitiveness in microelectronics:
- The use of Neutron Reflectivity (NR) to characterise the penetration of water into direct bonded SiO2/SiO2 interface.
- In-situ X-ray diffraction study of solid-state reaction of Ni and GeSn on Si substrate. Smooth phase transformation is observed during the annealing and some kinetic parameters could be withdrawn.
- X-ray nano-tomography with world record 30nm spatial resolution for the characterisation of Through Silicon Vias (TSV) and Copper Pillars (CuP).
‘Large Scale instruments tackling nanoscale characterization challenges in microelectronics’, a presentation by Rafael Varela Della Giustina, will be held at 12:00 on Tuesday December 11th 2018, in the session Functional Surfaces and interfaces, room: 1.1 Administratiezaal