STMicroelectronics, CEA-Leti and AIXTRON Develop Ultra-Thin Gate-Insulation Process for Advanced CMOS Transistors

Industry first as ST and CEA-Leti joint development research program

demonstrates excellent results for new advanced process technology

May 26, 2004, 01:00 ET from STMicroelectronics

    GENEVA, May 26 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- STMicroelectronics (NYSE:   STM)
 today announced that ST, CEA-Leti and AIXTRON have developed an advanced
 process technology for the creation of ultra-thin transistor-gate-insulation
 layers for low-power applications at the 65nm and 45nm CMOS transistor
 technology nodes. The new process significantly reduces transistor leakage
 current by the deposition of 'high-k' gate-insulation material.
     To meet the future requirements of highly integrated devices postulated by
 Moore's law and described via the International Technology Roadmap for
 Semiconductors (ITRS), it will eventually be necessary to introduce new
 materials into the manufacture of advanced silicon devices. The three
 companies are developing new process technology aimed at the 45nm or 65nm
 technology nodes for low-power CMOS platforms optimized for portable
     Based on AIXTRON's Tricent(R) reactor technology, CEA-Leti and ST have
 created a joint development program for 'high-k' materials, fulfilling the
 specifications of advanced nano-metric CMOS gate-stacks that require a thick
 physical layer with a low leakage current equivalent to ultra-thin oxide.
     The process, called AVD(R) (Atomic Vapor Deposition), has demonstrated
 excellent Equivalent Oxide Thickness (EOT) values of 1.15nm or 11.5 Angstroms
 based on hafnium dioxide / silicon dioxide / silicon (HfO(2)/SiO(2)/Si) stacks
 offering leakage current densities as low as J(L)=6.8x10(-2)A/cm(2) at 1.5V.
     The results were obtained by the Advanced Modules team of researchers from
 ST and CEA-Leti at ST's Crolles facility using a Tricent AIXTRON 200/300 mm
 bridge cluster tool. The HfO2 deposited layer process was developed in
 conjunction with AIXTRON, and the wafer processing and the characterization
 were performed at CEA-LETI facilities in Grenoble.
     Metallic oxides of the hafnium family are believed to be excellent
 candidates for the 'high-k' dielectric material that will eventually replace
 silicon dioxide in the basic CMOS transistor structure.
     In addition to the ability to precisely deposit thin dielectric 'high-k'
 layers, the AVD technique also allows the deposition of metal gates necessary
 for the 45nm-and-below CMOS technology nodes.
     "These proof-of-concept results are a first for this process technology,"
 said Daniel Bensahel, Project Leader and Front-End Program Director at
 STMicroelectronics. "This joint development program between ST and CEA-Leti,
 in conjunction with AIXTRON, is not only the first in the industry to
 implement this advanced process in an industrial environment; but more
 importantly, it is also achieving excellent results."
     "The co-operation with STMicroelectronics and CEA-Leti is an integral part
 of our strategic CMOS development effort strengthening AIXTRON's position in
 emerging semiconductor applications. By working with one of the leading
 semiconductor device manufacturers and one of the top research organizations
 in the industry, AIXTRON will remain at the forefront of cutting edge enabling
 MOCVD process technology development. We have been highly impressed by the
 professionalism and the technical competencies of the STMicroelectronics and
 CEA-Leti team, and look forward to combining our expertise to develop
 solutions for advanced CMOS devices," said Tim McEntee, Executive Vice
 President and COO Semiconductor Equipment/ AIXTRON AG.
     About AIXTRON
     AIXTRON (Aachen, Germany) is, as verified by an independent market
 research institute, the world leading supplier of equipment for III-V
 semiconductor epitaxy. Its equipment is used by a diverse range of customers
 worldwide to manufacture critical, advanced components such as HBTs, PHEMTs,
 MESFETs, Lasers, LEDs, Detectors and VCSELs used in fiber optic communications
 systems, wireless and mobile telephony applications, optical storage devices,
 illumination, signaling and lighting, as well as a range of other leading edge
 technologies. Originally focusing on compound semiconductor applications over
 the last years AIXTRON has broadened its product portfolio to enabling MOCVD
 Technologies for advanced materials for next generations of mainstream
 semiconductor devices and Organic LED applications. To date, AIXTRON's total
 installed base of systems exceeds 800 tools worldwide. AIXTRON AG (FSE: AIX
 ISIN DE0005066203) is listed in the Prime Standard and Tec DAX of the German
 Stock Exchange (Deutsche Borse) and is included in the MSCI World Index.
     About CEA-Leti
     CEA-Leti (Grenoble, France) is a CEA Grenoble laboratory at the leading
 edge of European microelectronics and microtechnologies research. It employs
 about 800 people and with its more than 120 patents filed per year and its 30
 start-ups created or being created, it ranks among the major partners of the
 industrial world. CEA is a polyvalent scientific and technological research
 organization, specialized in the fields of nuclear power, both civil and
 military, new energy technologies, information and communication systems and
 biotechnologies. Its ability to combine fundamental research and valorization
 in an industrial framework enables it to play a leading role in innovation.
 Some 16,000 people are employed at CEA in 10 sites in France.
     About STMicroelectronics
     STMicroelectronics is a global leader in developing and delivering
 semiconductor solutions across the spectrum of microelectronics applications.
 An unrivalled combination of silicon and system expertise, manufacturing
 strength, Intellectual Property (IP) portfolio and strategic partners
 positions the Company at the forefront of System-on-Chip (SoC) technology and
 its products play a key role in enabling today's convergence markets. The
 Company shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange, on Euronext Paris
 and on the Milan Stock Exchange. In 2003, the Company net revenues were $7.24
 billion and net earnings were $253 million. Further information on ST can be
 found at

SOURCE STMicroelectronics