Semiconductor Products Glossary

CMP Semiconductor Products Glossary

A,B,C,D,E,F,G,I,L,M,O,P,R,S,T,W,Y

Choose the first letter of the word from the list above to view the appropriate section of the glossary.

A


Annealing A baking process typically used to incorporate doping atoms into the silicon crystal lattice.
ASIC Application-specific integrated circuit.
Aspect ratio The width-to-height ratio of patterned features on a substrate.
Assembly and Packaging Wafers are cut up into chips, to which wires are attached, and then they are encased in plastic or ceramic packages.
Ashing Removal of photoresist through dry processing.
Atmospheric Downstream Plasma (ADP) Direct current plasma in Argon flow in an atmospheric pressure chamber. Downstream means that the wafer is not subjected to the charged particles of typical plasmas. Applications include silicon wafer thinning, backside wafer etching for silicon oxide, silicon nitride and polysilicon film removal, backside damage and stress removal after grinding or lapping and isotropic etching through a mask.
Atmospheric Oxidation A process of oxidation of silicon carried out at atmospheric pressure. The equipment used for thermal oxidation is the same as that used for thermal diffusion.
Align Position mask or reticle with respect to pattern on wafer.

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B


Back-end In semiconductor manufacturing, the package assembly and test stages of production.
Bipolar A type if IC that contains both positive and negative electric charges.
Broadband Term used to describe the relatively large range of wavelengths in the mercury arc lamp spectrum.
Bump Processing A method of placing “bumps,” typically solder or other conducting material, onto IC bond pads so that the IC is mounted to either a package or printed circuit board directly.
Boat Pieces of quartz joined together to form a supporting structure for wafers during high-temperature processing steps. OR A Teflon or plastic assemblage used to hold wafers during wet processing steps.
Boron The P-type dominant dopant commonly used for the isolation and base diffusion in standard bipolar integrated circuit processing.
Buffered Oxide Etch A mix of hydrogen fluoride and ammonium fluoride used to allow oxide etching to occur at a slow controlled rate.
Buried Layer The N+ diffusion in the P-type substrate done just prior to growing the epitaxial layer. The buried layer provides a low resistance path for current flowing in a device.

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C


Chemical Mechanical Planarization (CMP) A polishing process, which utilizes a chemical slurry formulation and mechanical polishing process to remove unwanted conductive or dielectric materials on the silicon wafer, achieving a near-perfect flat and smooth surface upon which layers of integrated circuitry are built.
Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) A gaseous process that deposits insulating films or metal onto a wafer at elevated temperature. Often, reduced pressure is used to promote the chemical reaction.
Chip An integrated circuit of discrete device.
Clean Room A confined area in which the humidity, temperature, and particular matter are precisely controlled within specified units.
Cleaning Removal of unwanted material (residues, polymers) from the wafer surface.
Core Competencies An area of unique strength or expertise. Harris uses the term to refer to capabilities, process technologies, or product types that provide the company with a competitive advantage.
Cost of Ownership The total cost a manufacturer incurs to “own” a piece of capital equipment throughout that equipment’s lifetime, including initial costs and yearly operating costs.
Crystal Growers or Pullers Large Furnace Devices that grow or pull large ingle crystals out of molten silicon.
Conductors A material which has a high conductivity and low resistivity. Examples of common conductors include copper, gold and silver.
Capacitor A single-function device which stores electrical charge on two conductors separated by an insulator.
Carrier Gas An inert gas which will transport atoms or molecules of a desired substance to a reaction chamber.
Channel A thin region of a semiconductor that supports conduction. A channel may occur at a surface or in the bulk, essential for the operation of MOSFETs or SIGFETs. In cases where channels are not part of the circuit design, their presence may indicate contamination problems or incomplete isolation.
Channeling A phenomenon in which an ion beam will penetrate into the crystal planes of the wafer.
Chemical etching Selective removal of material by means of liquid reactants. The precision of the etch is controlled by the temperature of the etchant, the time of contact and the composition.

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D


Damage Effects which can adversely impact the functionality and performance of the IC.
Defect A localized imperfection on or beneath the wafer surface which is formed during the polishing process and may lead to the failure of that portion of the IC device.
Deposition The next layer on the wafer. In chemical vapor deposition, gaseous or vaporous chemicals are used to deposit a thin film on a wafer surface. Physical vapor deposition uses a high voltage electrical charge to attract a thin layer of material from a target, usually metal, onto the wafer’s surface.
Die A small piece of silicon wafer, bound by adjacent scribe lines in the horizontal and vertical directions that contain the complete device being manufactured.
Diffusion The process of baking or bonding new thin layers onto the silicon wafer. This is done using diffusion furnaces, high-pressure oxidation and rapid thermal processing.
Discrete Device A class of electronic components, typically containing one active element, such as a transistor or diode.
Downstream As related to plasma processing, the wafer is located in a separate or isolated environment from the plasma region.
Doping The deliberate introduction of specific impurity atoms into the silicon crystal lattice to change its electrical properties.
DRAM Dynamic random-access memory. The lowest cost and most popular type of semiconductor read/write memory chip, in which the presence or absence of a capacitive charge represents the state of a binary storage element. The charge must be periodically refreshed.
Diode Single-function device that enables current flow in one direction but not in the other
Dopant An element that alters the conductivity of a semiconducting material by contributing a free-hole (P-type) or electron (N-type) to the crystal. Boron is commonly used for P-type and phosphorous, arsenic and antimony is used for N-type doping.
Donor An impurity that can make a semiconductor N-type by donating extra “free electrons”.
Dry Etching A process resulting in the selective removal of material achieved by use of gas.
Dry Ox The growth of silicon dioxide using oxygen and hydrogen, which form water vapor at process temperatures, rather than using water vapor directly.

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E


Enhanced Global Alignment Alignment performed at a few pre-selected sites on the wafer, before blindly stepping and exposing the rest of the wafer.
EPI (epitaxial) Used to describe a layer in an IC wafer that has the same structure as an underlying layer.
Etch The process of removing material (such as thin films or oxides) by chemical, electrolytic, or plasma (ion bombardment). The high tech version of photographic print developing.
Expose Transfers pattern to mask blank using electron beam or laser writing system.
E-beam An exposure source which allows direct image formation without a mask. An e-beam can be deflected by electrostatic plates and therefore directed to precise locations, resulting in the generation of sub-micron patterns.
Electromigration The diffusion of electrons in electric fields set up in the lead while the circuit is in operation. It occurs in aluminum and is exhibited as a field nature, not as a process defect. The metal thins and eventually separates completely, causing an opening in the circuit.

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F


Fab A chip manufacturer’s fabrication plant for building ICs.
Fabrication The process of making devices in semiconductor wafers, but usually does not include the package assembly (back-end) stages.
Feature Size The dimensions of the smallest images produced on the wafer surface.
Front-End In semiconductor manufacturing, the fabrication process in which the integrated circuit is formed in and on the wafer.

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G


gh-line Exposure wavelength of 436 nanometers.
GILA (Gas Immersion Laser Annealing) A self-aligned silicide (SALICIDE) process for forming low resistance contacts at sub- critical dimension spacing as part of high-performance CMOS logic fabrication.

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I


i-line Exposure wavelength of 365 nanometers.
Inductive thin film head An electromechanical device that records (writes) data on and retrieves (reads) data from the magnetic recording layer of the disk inside.
Inspect Evaluate accuracy of pattern feature size and pattern placement and inspect for defects.
Integrated Circuits A fabrication technology combining the majority of the circuit components on a single-crystal silicon wafer.
Integrated process Combining several sequential processing steps. Normally performed in separate systems, within one multi-process system, typically without removing the wafer from the vacuum.
Ion An atom that has either gained or lost electrons making it a charged negative or positive particle.
Ion Implantation A process in which ions of dopant chemicals are accelerated in intense electric fields that penetrate the surface of a wafer, thus doping the surface material.
Isotropic As related to etching of films, isotropic etching is where all film is removed in all directions simultaneously.
Insulator A material which has high resistivity (low conductivity).
Interconnection Use of conductive metal pathways to attach individual device components with each other and with the surface of the wafer.

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L


Layering Provides layers of various materials to complete the fabrication of components on the silicon surface.
Lithography The transfer of a pattern or image from one medium to another, as from a mask to a wafer. If light is used to affect the transfer, the term “photolithography” applies.

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M


Magneto-resistive (MR) head Recording head that uses an inductive thin film element to write data onto the media and a separate MR element to read the data. The use of a separate but much more sensitive read element permits data to be recorded and, subsequently, read at much higher track densities than inductive thin film head technology.
Mask A transparent plate covered with an array of patterns used in making ICs. Each pattern consists of opaque areas that prevent light from passing through. The mask is used to expose photoresist that defines areas to be later etched on a wafer.
MEMS (Microelectromechanical systems) Micromachining.
Micromachining The application of integrated circuit fabrication processes to the manufacture of miniature machines, sensors and switches.
Micron One-millionth of a meter.
Mix-and-match The cost-effective strategy by which manufacturers use expensive reduction steppers for the critical layers of an integrated circuit and cost-effective 1X steppers for layers larger than 0.65 microns.
Microprocessor A CPU of fabricated one or more chips, containing basic arithmetic logic or control elements of a computer required for processing data. OR An integrated circuit accepts coded instructions, executes the executions received and delivers signals that describe internal status.
MVS (Machine Visions System) A pattern recognition alignment system that eliminates the need for large scribe lines to support dedicated alignment targets.
Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor (MOS) transistor A transistor containing a metal gate or thermal oxide over silicon. The components of this device are the source, drain and gate.

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O


Oxidation The process of joining oxygen and heat in a furnace to form a layer of silicon dioxide.

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P


Package The protective container or housing for an electronic component or die, with external terminals to provide electronic access to the components inside.
Pad Made of urethane, a polishing pad is used in conjunction with a polishing slurry to achieve wafer planarity and to dispose of unwanted particles. Pads play a critical role in providing highly consistent and reliable CMP process results.
Pellicilize Optically transparent membrane mounted on a machined metal frame is attached to photomask or reticle to prevent airborne or handling contamination. Contaminants on the membrane surface are out-of-focus driving exposure.
P-Gild Projection-Gas Immersion Laser Doping. This process merges photolithography, doping and annealing.
Photomask Also know as “reticle” or “mask,” this glass plate contains the patterns used for photolithographic manufacture of integrated circuits.
Photoresist A photoactive film also known as resist. Liquid photoresist is applied to a wafer to create a thin, uniform film. This film reacts with light energy from the stepper to define a circuit or component pattern to the substrate.
Photosensitive polymide A stress buffer overcoat used in the manufacture of devices designated for advanced packaging applications. The photosensitive properties of the material enable manufacturers to achieve in only four steps what would otherwise require nine steps for non photo-sensitive polymide.
Plasma An ionized gas composed of equal number of positive and negative charges.
Polysilicon Shortened version of the phrase polycrystaline silicon. It is normally used in semiconductor applications as a high resistance conductor.
Primary Lithography A lithography market including the manufacture of low cost IC’s, consumer products, micromachining devices and various semiconductor processes with minimum line-width requirements of 0.65 micron. This market also includes scanner replacement for capacity expansion, wafer size upgrades and new process integration.
Printed Circuit A circuit in which the wires or components have been replaced by a conductive pattern printed upon or bonded to the surface of an insulating board.
Process Monitoring Equipment Devices that monitor the wafer for defects and contamination picked up during the course of processing.
Passivation A protective sealing layer formed at the end of the integrated circuit fabrication process.

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R


Reduction Stepper Steppers that reduce the image contained on the reticle nX times, usually 5X, but sometimes 4X, 2.5X or 2X, before exposing the wafer.
Refractive lens A lens (composed of glass lens components) that bends or deflects the path of light as it passes between different media, for example, air or gas.
Reflective Lens A lens that throws back or bends light from a surface. AKA a mirror.
Resist Thickness The typical thickness of photoresist spun onto a wafer surface ranges from one to two microns. Resist thickness used in thin-film head processing can be much greater, ranging up to 10 microns.
Resist Coat Used as a template for etching pattern features into underlaying layer surface.
Reticle An etched, chrome-coated quartz glass plate used to transfer the pattern for a single layer of device circuitry of an integrated circuit.

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S


Shallow Trench Isolation A method for electrically isolating semiconductor devices that uses a dielectric filled trough.
Scaling A technique of reducing the size of an existing integrated circuit die by selective shrinking of the X and/or Y dimensions.
Scanner Scanners are lithography tools that were first introduced in the early 1970’s to replace contact printers. Today, scanners are being replaced by higher-technology steppers.
Semiconductor An electronic device (also referred to as an integrated circuit or IC), such as memory or a microcontroller, used in a variety of applications including computer, automotive and telecommunications products.
Stepper A photolithography tool used in the production of semiconductor devices, thin film recording heads, micromachined devices and so forth. Also referred to as a step-and-repeat projection aligner, stepper works by transferring the image of a circuit or component from a master photomask image onto a small portion of the wafer surface. The substrate is then moved or stepped, and the image is exposed once again onto another area of the wafer. This process is repeated until the entire wafer surface is exposed.
Substrate See wafer.
Slurry A highly engineered chemical formulation-typically comprised of fumed silica abrasives-that smoothes and flattens the wafer surface and prepares it for subsequent photolithography steps in which the pattern of the IC is imaged onto the wafer.
Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) A photo produced by a microscope that uses a beam of electrons to form a large image of a very small object.
Silicon The basic element used in most semiconductor devices; i.e., diodes, transistors and integrated circuits.
Silicon Wafer A thin slice of silicon with parallel faces cut from a semiconductor crystal.
Silicon-on-Insulator (SOI) A sandwich-like substrate in which the silicon surface is electrically isolated from the substrate by an insulator.
Stripping Removal of photoresist through dry or wet processing.
Silicon Dioxide A non-conducting layer that can be thermally grown or deposited on silicon wafers.
Seed Crystals Crystal starting material introduced into a crucible of molten semiconducting material onto which atoms are attached resulting in the formation of a cylinder-shaped solid having the same crystal structure as the seed.
Sputtering A physical vapor deposition method (PVD) for the deposition of a thin film of material on the wafer’s surface. Atoms of the deposition material are dislodged from a solid target of material due to the bombardment with ionized gas. The freed atoms deposit on the water surface.

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T


Thin-film Head Currently, the most advanced type of magnetic recording head used to read and write information on disk drives. The two types of TFHs are inductive and the more advanced magneto-resistive.
Test Equipment Finished wafers are tested for their electrical functionality using automated test equipment that makes electrical contact with the wafers by using wafer probes.
Thermal Oxidation A process step used in the manufacturing of integrated circuits in which a layer of silicon dioxide is grown on the surface of a silicon wafer in a heated reaction chamber containing oxygen gas or water vapor.
Transistor A single-function device that acts as a current switch.

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W


Wafer 1. Semiconductor fabrication: Semiconductor wafers are made of round, thin slices of single-crystal silicon and form the base substrate for semiconductor processing.
2. Thin film recording head fabrication: Wafers used in thin film head processing are made of a ceramic substrate material. They are available in round and square shapes and various thicknesses.
Wafer plane irradiance Exposure light at the substrate surface.

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Y


Yield The percentage of wafers, dice or packaged units conforming to specifications. The most common yields in the manufacturing process are wafer fab yield (percentage of wafers that complete wafer processing), wafer probe yield (the fraction of dice on a wafer that meet the device specifications), assembly yield and final test yield.

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