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Strategic Materials

Strategic Materials
by Paul McLellan on 08-28-2015 at 7:00 am

 Here on SemiWiki we spend a certain amount of time discussing semiconductor equipment, especially the big sea-change items like EUV and 450mm, where everyone wants to know when (and if) they will happen. But there is another aspect to next generation processes other than equipment and that is materials. When the received wisdom is that Hafnium is important for transistors going forward, there need to be people whose reaction is not “Hafnium, great name for a heavy metal band” but how do we get it, how do we make it pure, how do we deliver it to fabs on multiple continents. If it is something that is required in large quantities, such as many gases, then the supply chain is even more complicated. In fact, the reality is that process advances depend on material innovation as well as equipment innovation.

On September 22nd-23rd at the Computer History Museum it is the annual SEMI Strategic Materials Conference (SMC). This year’s theme, Materials for a Smart and Interconnected World, will take a broad look at what is driving the demand for new materials, how material suppliers are being impacted by the value chain they serve and how this affects the smart and interconnected world we live in.

 The opening keynote on Tuesday morning is by Garry Patton. He was the head of R&D at IBM Semiconductor but he decided to come over with the acquisition and is now the CTO and head of R&D for GlobalFoundries. His topic is The Importance of Accelerating Material Innovation. I always enjoy Gary’s keynotes since he has a deep technical knowledge but an ability to talk about technology in ways that are accessible to more than the deep specialists.

Gary is followed by Mark Thirsk of Lynx Consulting.

The rest of the morning is taken up with the Economics/Material Trends session.Market forces that drive demand for semiconductor process materials not only involves the influence / demand from chip fabricators, but also involves end use applications, largely influenced by consumer demand, locally and globally. The semiconductor business environment will be presented from various vantage points – from the materials perspective through chip fabricator, to the global economic view point. Information on materials and business trends for a broad range of semiconductor device technologies, and the driving forces behind these trends, will be presented.

In the afternoon it is a session on Material Enabling Silicon Everywhere. That’s material speak for IoT!Critical to the IoT vision is the interconnection of tens or hundreds of billions of systems that will supply information for analysis and action. These devices will combine existing and novel capabilities such as new types of sensors, low-power operation, energy harvesting, and interconnectivity to mobile or fixed wire communications. Many of these devices will build off well-known technologies, but “More than Moore” integration will likely be necessary to fulfill the vision. This session of SMC 2015 will review the process material requirements and device manufacturing implications of distributing IC-based devices to all aspects of our lives.

From 5-7pm there will be a reception.


The next day, 23rd, has 3 major sessions:

  • New Emerging Materials Technology and Opportunities at the Edge
  • Sustainable Manufacturing: Sustainability Considerations of Advanced Materials
  • Advanced Interconnect Technologies

Finally, A View from the Fabs: Executive Panel Session. This consists of three short executive presentations followed by a panel session moderated by Kurt Carlsen of Air Liquide Electronics. The three executives are:

  • Vin Menon of Texas Instruments
  • Hans Stork of ON Semiconductor
  • Gary Patten (our keynoter from the day before) of GlobalFoundries

The conference wraps up at 5pm.

Full details of SMC are on the SEMI website here. Registration is discounted until September 11th.

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