Thursday, June 18, 2015

Silicon Nanowire Remains Favorite to Replace FinFET

VLSI 2015 is going on and there are a lot of interesting information flowing from there and especially on the future of CMOS scaling. Here is a good article on what´s next after FinFET by Peter Clarke. He is claiming that Silicon Nanowires is the most probable path, i.e., not III/V on silicon: Silicon Nanowire Remains Favorite to Replace FinFET. The article is based on the published information and opinions from ARM, Imec, and Prof. Asenov and tries to give insights to some of the major questions and possible issues:
  • Vertical or Lateral?
  • With or without EUV?
  • What Material?
Below some of the statements made by the experts in the article by Peter Clarke. Please do read the article for the full story here (IHS Electronics360).

Prof. Asen Asenov of Glasgow University and CEO of Gold Standard Simulations

Asenov says, "I do not think that there is a real alternative to NWTs. They are a natural progression to FinFETs. Think of it like this: MOSFET—gate on the side of the channel; FinFET—gate on three sides of the channel; NWT or gate all around—gate on four sides of the channel." In a word, ultimate control of the current.

Aaron Thean, logic research director at IMEC.

"At IMEC we look at silicon, silicon-germanium and III-V channel materials but the preference is silicon." Other materials suffer from immaturity. "You have to ask what is the value proposition for these materials? SiGe improves mobility but there are issues of reliability. It is very difficult to passivate the surface." So for Thean, at least, progress is likely to be based in silicon with first-scaled FinFET. That means a taller fin, then movement to lateral nanowire transistors. But it still needs some level of innovation, he says.

Lucian Shifren, principal engineer at ARM.

"Gate-all-around silicon is most likely for a 'real' 7nm," Shifren says. He adds that the nominal 7nm would likely be a pseudo-scaled FinFET and that the nominal 5nm process would be gate-all-around.

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