Solid State Electronics

The use of simulation in semiconductor technology development

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An overview is presented on the types of problems encountered in semiconductor technology development that are actively studied today via simulation methods. Most of the simulation examples presented here are ones that have been explicitly used in actual industrial semiconductor device design cycles to aid in the optimization of device structures. The examples described here include process simulations, such as the diffusion of dopant atoms, oxidation, etching, deposition, and epitaxial growth, as well as device simulations, which predict the flow of charge carriers and field distribution within a semiconductor device, given its material structure and operating conditions. The main aim here is to illustrate, by example, some of the capabilities of state-of-the-art simulators used in characterizing and predicting semiconductor process and device-related phenomena. We will attempt to outline the degree of sophistication of the physics incorporated in such simulation programs, and provide some contrast to the fundamental physics required for a complete physical description. As will be indicated, simulation development necessarily involves molding the appropriate physical models and numerical algorithms into a package that can be handled in a reasonable length of time by modern computing systems. We briefly outline some of the advances that have been made, and some concerns that remain, in such simulation development. © 1990.