Ultimate high-k challenge
Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany hosts the Ultimate High-k Challenge, a competition to identify the best submitted dielectric material by the following criteria: lowest combination EOT (equivalent oxide thickness), and leakage, as well as ease of integration/fab friendliness.
This challenge contains several stages. Up to 20 individuals/teams from around the world may register for the competition. All those successfully registered for the challenge will receive five samples from Intermolecular® in Silicon Valley. Registrants will then deposit their materials onto two of these samples, according to the criteria below, which then will be sent to and measured at Intermolecular® in Silicon Valley.
The team who submits the material with the lowest combination of EOT, and leakage, as well as ease of integration/fab friendliness subject to the terms and conditions of the registration will win a prize of EUR 20,000.
Who can participate?
Anyone meeting the eligibility criteria of the terms and conditions of the registration from around the world may register for the Challenge, as an individual or in a team. This competition is not open to Health Care Professionals nor may participants be employed at a Health Care Organization. Part of the criteria for successful registration is a demonstrated capability to deposit material as described in the Challenge.
How does it work?
- Register by submitting the completed “Registration Form” and Capabilities to Deposit Material section by e-mail to Open.Innovation@emdgroup.com before 23:59 (CET) August 31st, 2020.
- Only the first 20 successfully accepted registrants will be allowed to participate in the challenge. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany at its own discretion can decide whether a registrant has the required capability to participate in the challenge and can be considered “successfully registered”.
Intermolecular® in Silicon Valley will then provide substrates to all registrants with the following deposition requirements:
- Two samples submitted to Intermolecular® in Silicon Valley of same high-k material on provided 45 mm x 45 mm thermal oxide silicon coupons with 50 nm of TiN bottom electrode.
- Additional bottom electrode may be deposited prior to dielectric deposition.
- Composition of dielectric and optional additional electrodes as well as deposition method is not specified EXCEPT no alkali metals. In addition, since ease of integration into semiconductor fabs is important, inclusion of noble metals such as Rh, Pd, Ag, Pt, Ir, Au are undesired. Deposition by ALD, CVD or other fab friendly conformal processes is a plus.
- There is no maximum temperature limit for depositions and/or thermal treatments, but a preference will be given for submissions with the lower thermal processing budgets.
- Two samples are to be provided of different dielectric physical thickness, preferably <10 nm (e.g. 5 nm and 7 nm).
- Desired EOT preferably <0.8 nm (e.g., 0.4 nm).
- For these two samples leakage will also be measured – the measurable leakage range is between 1e-8 to 1e-3 Amps/cm2.
- Optional top electrode with pattern - 200-1000 um diameter and at least 50 nm thick (patterned, for example, by shadow masking, liftoff, or other technique) preferred. If no top electrode is provided, 50 nm of TiN will be deposited.
- Providing an understanding of underlying mechanisms that drive the EOT-leakage behavior for your submitted material such as specific targeted crystallinity, XRD characterization data or supporting simulations will be treated as a plus.
- Finally, a description of the materials used, process methods and conditions of deposition will be required from every registrant to have material measured in the challenge.
- The registrants deposited material will then be sent to and measured at Intermolecular® in Silicon Valley. All teams who have conclude the material transfer agreement and who successfully send deposited material will receive Eur 1,000 in compensation for material costs for their affiliation for participating in the Challenge. The team who submits the material with the best measured properties, according to the Challenge criteria, will be publicly declared the winner and receive the prize of EUR 20,000.
- Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany retains the exclusive right to make any press release or any kind of public communication about the competition and the winning proposal. Confidential details on nature and makeup of the material will not be revealed nor deconstructed by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. Samples submitted will be destroyed after the Challenge.