In an effort to keep Europe at the
forefront of nanoelectronics, the European Commission
is providing 24.17 million euro for a new project
aimed at pushing the limits of semiconductor performance
The NanoCMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semi-conductor) project represents
an attempt to allow scaling (arrangement in a graduated series) to continue.
It therefore strives to pioneer the necessary and revolutionary changes in
materials, process modules, device architectures and interconnections, as well
as the related characterisation, modelling and simulation work, necessary to
go from a 45-nanometer CMOS node to a 32-nm one.
'NanoCMOS is a broad project focusing on the research and development (R&D)
activities necessary to develop the 45-nm, 32-nm and more advanced CMOS manufacturing
processes, with the exception of lithography,' explain the project partners,
which include Europe's three leading commercial chipmakers: STMicroelectroics,
Philips and Infineon, as well as research institutes and small and medium-sized
The partners are currently preparing for the second phase, in which the developed
technologies will be validated in an industrial environment.
NanoCMOS has three main objectives. The first is to demonstrate the feasibility
of front- and back-end 45-nm CMOS logic process modules. In order to achieve
this, the partners intend to process an aggressive SRAM chip as a demonstrator,
displaying worldwide best characteristics and an advanced two-level metallisation
structure by the end of 2005.
The second objective is to perform exploratory research on critical aspects
of the materials in preparation for the 32 nm and 22-nm process nodes. A demonstrator
will be established for this next node sometime in 2007.
Finally, the third objective of the project is to take the results of the first
objective and generalise the process to produce a 45-nm CMOS logic process
resulting in the fabrication of the commercial complexity chips on 300-mm diameter
wafers. This goal should also be achieved before the end of 2007.
Alongside this project, a 'Network of Excellence' has been created to bring
together the best European semiconductor research teams in order to formulate
a research programme that is complementary to the needs of NanoCMOS.
As Guillermo Bomchil, NanoCMOS project leader explains, 'together Nano CMOS
and SiNano cover the whole domain of silicon microelectronics from the 45-nm
node down to what experts believe would be the limits of CMOS.'
'This project is ambitious,' he concluded. 'European technology companies are
often behind their Japanese and American counterparts. Europe was not able
to meaningfully participate in the microelectronics boom of n the 1970s and
1980s, and European governments are determined not to miss the boat on the
next 'nano' revolution.'
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