Materials Integration and Device Fabrication

The conventional idea of using a fixed material set and scaling devices in length as expressed by Moore’s “law” to reduce costs while enhancing the performance, i.e., “Dennard scaling”, came to an end effectively during the mid-1990s for the manufacture of integrated circuits relying on field effect transistors (FETs).

Since then, various technology boosters have been introduced including the introduction of new material sets in the gate stack to reduce gate tunnelling, the use of strain engineering to enhance electron and hole mobility, and the use of silicon-on-insulator or “fin”-FETs to reduce short channel effects. Enormous efforts to overcome fundamental limitations associated with the physical behaviour of materials and devices have been made and more radical changes in device design is required. In the past several decades, the performance improvement of electronic devices is mainly satisfied by reducing the size of the silicon FETs. However, integrating dissimilar materials would open up opportunities in integrating different functionalities on a single chip, leading to a reduced energy consumption and enhanced performance.

In the “Materials Integration and Device Fabrication” theme, research focusing on integrating various material systems and integrated device fabrication, in addition to activities focusing on miniaturisation of devices and the associated fabrication challenges and their potential solutions are being carried out.