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Wanted: Innovative Materials Tech in Microelectronics

Materials are taking center stage in the microelectronics industry, according to a new story in C&EN. As microchips get smaller — with a drive to be thinner than 1 nanometer — innovation in materials technology is going to lead the way.

“Many of the technical challenges in semiconductor manufacturing can be overcome by material innovation,” said Dongjun Lee, a researcher and vice president at the chipmaker SK Hynix, at a recent event in Seoul, South Korea. “Some of the materials we use now, they will not work on the smaller nodes,” he said, referring to future generations of microchips with even smaller circuit lines. … More new materials than ever are needed for making semiconductors as circuits become smaller, forcing manufacturers to reinvent both how chips are made and what they are made of.

A major part of that reinvention moving forward is the purity of the electronic chemicals used in fabricating microchips. Linde, the largest gas company in the world, has estimated that several hundred process steps and hundreds of electronic grade gases and chemicals are necessary for the microchip fab process, with new and varied gases becoming increasingly available. Even parts-per-billion impurities in these gases and chemicals can dramatically impact chip performance.

At NuMat, we are excited to be developing metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) as a material platform to address the most demanding purity requirements in next node technology.

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