ME579 Microelectronic Device Manufacturing

Spring 2011 register now

Instructor: Dan Cole (dccole@bu.edu@bu.edu)

Tues/Thus, 6:00 – 8:00

Distance learning and on campus sections available

 

For questions on distance learning,

visit the FAQ or contact A.Abrahamson

  Dan Cole

Micro- and nano-electronics, are key components to almost every area of high tech engineering today. This statement applies not just for electrical engineering, but also to mechanical, chemical, manufacturing, and bio- engineering. Why? Just think of the sensors, computers, controllers, and instrumentation used in these fields. These components house core aspects of microelectronic devices. By making better use of these tools, greater advances can be achieved in all of these areas. Whether you intend to practice in micro/nano electronics as an engineer, or whether your career is set in other directions, there are a number of reasons why it is important to know something about this field:


 

Did you know that a very strong argument can be made that the field of microelectronics embodies the most manufacturable area in human history? Why is that?

Afterall, the yields are typically horrible compared to the yields in other fields.

 
   
Even if your job does not involve developing the state-of-the-art in micro/nanoelectronics, it still makes a lot of sense to know how to effectively use microelectronic products in the field that you do work in. How does one choose the computers, chips, sensors, controllers, etc., in the best way possible?  
   
Consider an apparently unrelated area like bioengineering to microelectronics; even here, knowledge of microelectronics can be very beneficial. Why?  
                   
  The huge business aspect of this industry, that supports so many other industries, is fueled by what? Yes, consumer demand is a big aspect, but beyond that obvious aspect, what enables this industry to continue to grow and proper?  
     
  Micro and nano electronics is well known to contain an enormous number of innovations, as well illustrated by the number of patents in these areas, and the number of Nobel Prizes awarded. Why is that?  
     
  There are a number of important physical processes in this area, such as electron/hole transport, diffusion, oxidation, ion implantation, and so on. However, most of these processes can be understood reasonably well at a gut physical level, which can greatly aid in any deeper understanding. The fact that a deep physical level understanding can be achieved without solving lots of complex equations, often surprises many people.  
                   

ME 579 Microlectronic Device Manufacturing

Next Offering Spring 2011 – Enroll Now

                   
 

Did you know that a very strong argument can be made that the field of microelectronics embodies the most manufacturable area in human history? Why is that? Afterall, the yields are typically horrible compared to the yields in other fields.

 
   

Every year since the 1960s, the basic performance of semiconductor devices have improved exponentially, such as the memory on a chip and the speed of a device. This behavior is usually referred to as “Moore’s law.” As a consequence, the cost per bit (i.e., a 0 or 1) has been driven down exponentially. The cost of a transistor in 1965 might have been $4 or so. Today, a transistor is worth more like a nano-cent or less. There is no other field in history where simply by driving one parameter (i.e., making a device smaller), has continuously resulted in driving performance factors, like memory, speed, and cost, in all the right directions, and at exponential rates, year after year, for decades. Of course there is much more to this story, both on why performance keeps going up, and why yields never reach the yields of other fields. This course explores these aspects.

<TOP>

 
       
 

Even if your job does not involve developing the state-of-the-art in micro/nanoelectronics, it still makes a lot of sense to know how to effectively use microelectronic products in the field that you do work in. How does one choose the computers, chips, sensors, controllers, etc., in the best way possible?

 
   

In some cases the answer is simpler, such as for computers, and in other cases the answer is much harder, such as if you need to design, or if you need to have someone design for you, sensors or controllers that enable you to improve your manufacturing line, your instrumentation, or your product line (e.g., speakers, cell phone, gaming device, etc.).

<TOP>

 
       
 

Consider an apparently unrelated area like bioengineering to microelectronics; even here, knowledge of microelectronics can be very beneficial. Why?

 
   

Many of the advances in bioengineering have come about because of sensors, controllers, and instrumentation, that are based in large part on microelectronic components. Someone developed and integrated these aspects. To do so, required some knowledge of microelectronics. Clearly, the higher the knowledge, the better this can be done, and the more innovative will be the resultant product.

<TOP>

 
       
 

The huge business aspect of this industry, that supports so many other industries, is fueled by what? Yes, consumer demand is a big aspect, but beyond that obvious aspect, what enables this industry to continue to grow and proper?

 
   

A good part of the answer lies in the continued emphasize on manipulating and controlling the physical processes mentioned earlier. This is largely what has enabled Moore’s law to continue for decades. By increasing processor speed and memory storage, simply by improving on the physical processes, and by improving on the device designs, the circuit layouts, etc., year after year, results in huge product improvements. This is the reason why people will buy a new PC after only two years, when their old ones still work fine. The new ones are that much better! If you look at other fields, there are few where this phenomena exists that is not associated with the semiconductor industry. Specifically, try to think of other fields where the basic performance parameters (i.e., memory and speed), can double in just a few years. Clearly cars don’t do this! Nor do jets, food processors, ovens, etc. Some products that might occur to you are digital cameras and maybe cell phones. But, both of these are rooted in semiconductor technology also.

<TOP>

 
       
 

Micro and nano electronics is well known to contain an enormous number of innovations, as well illustrated by the number of patents in these areas, and the number of Nobel Prizes awarded. Why is that?

 
   

Another course is taught in our graduate program, entitled, ME-502, “Intellectual Assets: Creation, Protection, and Commercialization,” that is mainly focused on “inventing”, patents, and using innovation in a commercial sense. The present course being discussed of ME-579, “Microelectronic Device Manufacture,” should be considered as providing excellent examples of innovation. Indeed, for those in the micro/nano area, they are used to accepting that innovation (e.g., patents), are just part of the business. Yearly expected business related improvements cannot continue without them. What are some examples? Here are a few: Copper interconnects, semiconductor on insulator devices, and use of stress/strain to modify mobility in devices, are just a few. For Nobel Prizes, there are a number, with some of the more famous ones being for the transistor itself, the integrated circuit, and for the atomic force microscope.

<TOP>

 
       
 

There are a number of important physical processes in this area, such as electron/hole transport, diffusion, oxidation, ion implantation, and so on. However, most of these processes can be understood reasonably well at a gut physical level, which can greatly aid in any deeper understanding. The fact that a deep physical level understanding can be achieved without solving lots of complex equations, often surprises many people.

 
   

A strong gut physical understanding can greatly aid one to think of new ways of applying and using these devices. It also enables one to innovate, including at the level of developing patents. If one can also tie this level of understanding to an even deeper analytical one, then that can improve these capabilities even further.

<TOP>

 
       

ME 579 Microlectronic Device Manufacturing

Next Offering Spring 2011 – Enroll Now