Los Gatos, California-based AlliedSignal Electronic Materials Inc claims to have the answer to fabrication of the next generation of ever faster, smaller microprocessors, with the announcement of a new inorganic, carbon-free polymer for spin-on chip fabrication processes. The company has applied for a patent for the material, which, it claims, eliminates the problems associated with carbon in the spin-on process. Carbon can contaminate the connections on a wafer, so extra processes have to be built in to the manufacturing, to prevent contamination. AlliedSignal says the new polymer would enable these extra processes to be eliminated, thereby making the fabrication faster and cheaper, and more competitive with the alternative chip-making technology of chemical vapor deposited oxides. The company says the new spin-on polymer will have a major advantage over chemical vapor deposits in that it has a very low dialectic constant, 3 against chemical vapor’s 3.5, in other words it offers considerably better insulation, which is a major factor as the form size of the wafer gets ever smaller, and components get ever closer together. Product development manager Nicole Rutherford says she believes in time, the whole semiconductor industry will need to change over to spin-on technology, and this new polymer, with its particular advantages, could provide a catalyst to the move. The company says its major competitor in the market is Midland, Michigan-based Dow Corning Corp, but it says it believes Dow’s polymer is more expensive. The AlliedSignal polymer is currently out for testing qualification at some 50 or 60 sites, including Intel Corp and Motorola Inc, and is available now to anyone wishing to carry out pre-production testing.
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