infoTECH Feature

August 18, 2008

IBM Helps Build Smallest SRAM Chips

IBM (News - Alert) says that it’s joined partner companies to create world’s first reported working static random access memory for the 22 nanometer technology node.
The technology was developed at College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering of the University at Albany, State University of New York. This project is the first reported working cell built at its 300mm research facility in Albany, IBM said.
Albany NanoTech says it’s the world’s most advanced university-based nanoelectronics research complex, according to IBM. Other companies participated in the project include Advanced Micro Devices (News - Alert), Freescale, STMicroelectronics and Toshiba.
The new SRAM chips are built using a conventional six-transistor design. Having an area of 0.134um2, they break the existing SRAM scaling records, IBM said.
SRAM chips are precursors to complex devices such as microprocessors. 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, said the companies.
A SRAM chip is a denser form of chips. It’s made by shrinking the basic building block, known as the cell. The new SRAM designed by IBM consortium 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 say they used high-NA immersion lithography to print the aggressive pattern dimensions and densities and fabricated the parts in a state-of-the-art 300mm semiconductor research environment.
According to IBM, the most important functional components of 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.
“We are working at the ultimate edge of what is possible -- progressing toward advanced, next-generation semiconductor technologies,” said T.C. Chen, vice president of Science and Technology at IBM Research. “This new development is a critical achievement in the pursuit to continually drive miniaturization in microelectronics.”
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Rajani Baburajan is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Rajani's articles, please visit her columnist page.

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