IBM (NYSE: IBM), AMD, Freescale, STMicroelectronics, Toshiba, and the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) recently announced the first working static random access memory (SRAM) for the 22 nanometer (nm) technology node. SRAM chips are precursors to more complex devices such as microprocessors. The SRAM cell utilizes a conventional six-transistor design and has an area of 0.1um2, breaking the previous SRAM scaling barriers.
SRAM cell size is a key technology metric in the semiconductor industry, and this work demonstrates IBM and its partners’ continued leadership in cutting-edge process technology. Key enablers of the SRAM cell include band edge high-K metal gate stacks, transistors with less than 25 nm gate lengths, thin spacers, novel co-implants, advanced activation techniques, extremely thin silicide, and damascene copper contacts.
Traditionally, an SRAM chip is made more dense by shrinking its basic building block, often referred to as a cell. Researchers optimized the SRAM cell design and circuit layout to improve stability and developed several novel fabrication processes in order to make the new SRAM cell possible. The researchers utilized high-NA immersion lithography to print the aggressive pattern dimensions and densities and fabricated the parts in its a state-of-the-art 300mm semiconductor research environment.
22 nm is two generations away in chip manufacturing. The next generation is 32 nm — where IBM and its partners are in development with their leading 32 nm high-K metal gate technology that no other company or consortium can match.
Researchers achieved the breakthrough at CNSE of the University at Albany, State University of New York. CNSE’s Albany NanoTech is the world’s most advanced university based nanoelectronics research complex. IBM and its partners do much of their leading-edge semiconductor research at CNSE.
More info: IBM