Microelectronic Materials Topics at Texas Materials Institute
A number of faculty in the Texas Materials Institute (TMI) are investigating the synthesis, processing, and characterization of materials for microelectronic applications. The types of materials are diverse covering elemental (Si and Si-Ge-C) and compound (GaAs, InP, GaN, and related alloys) semiconductors as well as metals, silicides, and high-k dielectrics which allow for novel solutions for a number of microelectronic needs. The important technologies for these materials include integrated circuits, novel material and device structures, high-speed long-haul telecommunications, packaging and interconnects, and micromachined sensors. Specific areas of focus include:
Faculty within the Texas Materials Institute and affiliated departments use a number of techniques to create these materials. The techniques include remote plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (RPECVD) of Si and Si1-x-yGexCy; molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) and metalorganic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD) for III-V semiconductors and their heterostructures; CVD or barrier oxides materials; and laser ablation of nanoparticle materials. In addition to this work, fundamental studies in chemical and surface reactions and novel source precursors help to better understand the synthesis process.
An important aspect of any materials work is to ensure the quality of the synthesized materials. Within TMI, capability exists for a variety of structural (TEM, SEM, XRD, STM), optical (PL, Raman, and m-PL), electron (XPS, LEED, RHEED) and chemical (SIMS) spectroscopy measurements. In addition, an effort at TMI is focused on studying the breakdown and fatigue mechanisms of microelectronic materials to improve their performance and reliability.
Work in the processing area focusses on putting microelectronic materials into a useful form for applications. Research areas include novel materials for integrated circuit formation, rapid thermal processing for high-k dielectrics, formation of shallow junctions for reduced transistor size, and direct wafer bonding for the formation of compliant universal substrates.
Microelectronic materials studied within TMI are used in a number of applications which include vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers and avalanche photodetectors using III-V semiconductors; transistors in Si and Si1-x-yGexCy and GaN; guided-wave optics; micromachined sensors; 3D integrated circuits; and various device and processing modeling.