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Guiding principles for next generation of plasma research for microelectronics

JUN 07, 2024
Plasma applications, essential for semiconductor device manufacturing, must overcome several challenges to continue to drive progress.
Guiding principles for next generation of plasma research for microelectronics internal name

Guiding principles for next generation of plasma research for microelectronics lead image

Low temperature plasmas are ubiquitous and essential in semiconductor manufacturing processes like etching and deposition that are key in enabling device production and miniaturization. With the semiconductor industry pushing for even more advanced devices, plasma technology must overcome several challenges, such as nanoscale resolution and high aspect ratios, to continue to drive next-generation semiconductor development.

Graves et al. outlined several recommended directions for future research in plasma materials interactions based on a workshop held by the Department of Energy Office of Fusion Energy Sciences and the plasma research community. The product of the workshop is a collection of Priority Research Opportunities (PROs) that will guide research directions for many years.

“We wanted to have a report that people who write proposals could refer to when they justify the research they want to get supported,” said author David Graves.

The six PROs advocate for improved understanding of plasma processes and plasma-surface interactions, improved modeling, and better control of plasma-based systems, along with improving institutional structures to facilitate knowledge sharing, education, workforce development, and collaboration.

Using these recommendations, the Department of Energy recently released a funding opportunity announcement inviting proposals from researchers at national laboratories around the country. The authors hope their guidance will help to steer more efficient and purposeful research efforts.

“Ultimately, of course, it’s to the advantage of the country and to the world that this technology advances more rapidly,” said Graves. “Our opinions in this report are about what’s likely to be most impactful, and we’re hoping that if people follow those recommendations in their research, and they are more impactful, then everybody wins.”

Source: “Science challenges and research opportunities for plasma applications in microelectronics,” by David B. Graves, Catherine B. Labelle, Mark J. Kushner, Eray S. Aydil, Vincent M. Donnelly, Jane P. Chang, Peter Mayer, Lawrence Overzet, Steven Shannon, Shahid Rauf, and David N. Ruzic, Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology: B (2024). The article can be accessed at https://doi.org/10.1116/6.0003531 .

This paper is part of the CHIPS: Future of Semiconductor Processing and Devices Collection, learn more here .

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