Memory and Storage

New material discovery could lead to next generation of semiconductors

08 July 2020
The diagram showing the process for developing ultra-thing boron nitride films that could lead to new semiconductor development. Source: Samsung

Researchers at the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT) have discovered a new material that has the potential to accelerate the next generation of semiconductors.

In collaboration with Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) and the University of Cambridge, researchers have been developing new graphene transistors using material called amorphous boron nitride (a-BN) to produce large-area, single-crystal wafer-scale graphene.

“To enhance the compatibility of graphene with silicon-based semiconductor processes, wafer-scale graphene growth on semiconductor substrates should be implemented at a temperature lower than 400° C,” said Hyeon-Jin Shin, a graphene project leader and principal researcher at SAIT. “We are also continuously working to expand the applications of graphene beyond semiconductors.”

Amorphous boron nitride consists of boron and nitrogen atoms with an amorphous molecule structure. The material is derived from white graphene that includes boron and nitrogen atoms arranged in a hexagonal structure. The material features a low dielectric constant of 1.78 with strong electrical and mechanical properties and can be used as an interconnect isolation material to minimize electrical interference, Samsung said.

The material can be grown on a wafer scale at a low temperature of just 400° C, allowing it to be applied to semiconductors such as dynamic random access memory (DRAM) and NAND solutions as well as next generation memory solutions for large scale servers.

“Recently, interest in 2D materials and the new materials derived from them has been increasing. However, there are still many challenges in applying the materials to existing semiconductor processes.” said Seongjun Park, vice president and head of the inorganic material lab at SAIT. “We will continue to develop new materials to lead the semiconductor paradigm shift.”

The full research can be found in the journal Nature.

To contact the author of this article, email PBrown@globalspec.com


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