ASM International N.V. (ASM) has entered into a certified manufacturer and partnership agreement with SAFC Hitech, a business segment within SAFC, a member of the Sigma-Aldrich Corporation (Sigma-Aldrich) for some atomic layer deposition (ALD) source materials for advanced Ultra High-k insulators. This agreement offers a license to some ASM ALD patents and a partnership for the marketing and further development of chemical source materials.

The new source material, cyclopentadienyl, will allow ALD of new Strontium and Barium based Ultra High-k insulators with dielectric constants exceeding 100, whereas the current Zirconium and Hafnium based High-k insulators have dielectric constants less than 30 to 40. An insulator with a higher dielectric constant is expected to allow device manufacturers to produce much smaller capacitors for DRAM memory chips, and microprocessors with smaller transistors. It is expected that these Ultra High-k materials will be needed to produce 3x nm node memories, beginning around 2011.

‘We see Moore’s law being increasingly enabled by the ability to produce and integrate new materials in the chip manufacturing process,’ said Dr. Ivo Raaijmakers, ASM’s Chief Technology Officer and Director of R&D. ‘Partnership agreements such as this will allow us to develop new materials much more efficiently, and to prepare the supply chain for timely introduction of Ultra High-k materials in the manufacturing process.’

‘SAFC Hitech has been working closely with ASM’s research groups for some time, focusing on evaluation and process development of this class of cyclopentadienyl source materials,’ added Dr. Peter Heys, Research and Development Director, SAFC Hitech. ‘This effort has resulted in sources that have demonstrated ALD of high quality, Ultra High-k films. We are now working towards the scale-up for high volume manufacture of both strontium and barium Ultra High-k source precursors. The current target is to have product available in quantities up to and beyond 2011, consistent with ITRS road map requirements and ASM and SAFC Hitech projections.’