Infineon Presents First Results on Usage of Organic Materials for Next Generation Electronic Devices

Dec 10, 2003 | Technology Media

Munich, Germany – December 10, 2003 – Researchers at Infineon Technologies (FSE/NYSE: IFX) have analyzed various organic materials and developed a broad portfolio of processes that could be used in the future to manufacture high-quality silicon-based memories as well as organic transistors and circuits. Usage of conventional deposition processes and photo-lithographic patterning techniques will allow manufacturing of these devices in a cost effective manner. Infineon’s researchers presented several papers on these fundamental technologies at the 2003 IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) in Washington DC (December 8 - 10). The encouraging results shown in the performance, reliability, and temperature behavior of transistors, circuits, and memories based on organic materials mark important milestones on the path to using organic materials for future electronic devices.

With regards to integration density and clock frequency, electronic devices using organic materials may not be a direct alternative to silicon-based integration, but offer the potential of extremely low-cost manufacturing and a high degree of flexibility. While the production of integrated circuits using silicon or other crystalline semiconductors requires weeks and a large number of sequential processes with expensive equipment, organic electronics can be manufactured at substantially lower cost. The potential uses of organic electronics are correspondingly low performance and cost-sensitive applications.

Infineon demonstrated several organic components performing at levels previously unattainable. Thin-Film Transistors (TFTs) build by the researchers use organic semiconducting molecules as the active layer and provide charge carrier mobilities in excess of 1 cm 2/ Vs. Like silicon-based components, these organic transistors consist of several layers: substrate, gate electrode, gate insulator, source and drain contacts, organic semiconductors (e.g. pentacene or substituted oligothiophenes), and a protective passivation layer. Infineon reported at IEDM about developments of both hybrid organic/inorganic structures as well as pure organic chips. “The latest research results at Infineon show that organic-based ICs have potential applications in high volume and cost-critical applications where silicon-based chips may be unsuitable,” said Dr. Christoph Kutter, Senior Vice President of the Corporate Research Department at Infineon. “The advances on performance and reliability demonstrated at the 2003 IEDM encourage us to continue our investigations of organic material for usage in new electronic devices.”

New Organic Materials: Potential for High-Density Non-Volatile Memories

Numerous organic and inorganic materials have already been analyzed for non-volatile memory applications. Organic memories offer the potential of simple integration and simple cell concepts with very small cell sizes. In comparison to inorganic materials, the properties of the organic memory layers can be tailored by a selective change of the molecular structure. Furthermore, organic materials are often suitable for vacuum deposition as well as for low-cost spin coating processes.

Infineon researchers described the cell concepts and requirements for non-volatile memories based on novel organic memory materials. Memory cells built with this technology have already shown promising reliability data. For the first time, retention data of more than a year are shown for an organic memory material exhibiting conductance switching. Further investigations show the potential for scaling the material down to feature sizes of less than 20nm. This organic storage material is an attractive candidate for non-volatile memories.

New Polymer Material Enables Innovative DRAM Integration Concepts

Traditional silicon integration concepts are based on a few materials like silicon, silicon oxide and silicon nitride. Using only these materials limits the integration options. Resists - also used in conventional semiconductor processes - could be a fourth alternative, but are limited since processing at higher temperatures is not possible. Infineon co-developed a new thermally stable organic polymer combining the advantages of both worlds and demonstrated the feasibility of this organic material for a DRAM trench integration scheme. In this approach, a modified version of an organic spin-on-polymer is used with ideal gap fill properties, good planarization and temperature stability beyond 450°C. Test samples of 256M DDR DRAM chips fabricated on 140 nm ground rules show high yields. This concept demonstrates the feasibility of FEOL (Front-End Of Line) integration schemes utilizing the newly developed material. Furthermore the demonstrated integration scheme is capable of extending DRAM trenches to generations below 70nm.

New Molecular Thin Film Transistors Operate with Reduced Voltages

Organic electronics targets low performance and cost-sensitive applications. One of the most critical problems of the traditional organic Thin-film Transistors (TFTs) is the high operating voltage, which often exceeds 20V. In order to reduce the operating voltage and thereby the power consumption in organic TFT ICs, new ultra-thin gate dielectrics are necessary.

Infineon developed a new molecular TFT based on a high-mobility organic semiconductor (pentacene) and an ultra-thin (2.5nm), molecular self-assembling-monolayer (SAM) gate dielectric. With this breakthrough in the area of gate dielectrics for organic transistors, transistors operating down to 1V were realized exhibiting a subthreshold swing as low as 100 mV/decade. For a transistor with a channel length of 5µm a transconductance of 0.01µS/µm was measured - the highest transconductance reported for an organic semiconductor device up to today.

About Infineon

Infineon Technologies AG, Munich, Germany, offers semiconductor and system solutions for the automotive and industrial sectors, for applications in the wired communications markets, secure mobile solutions as well as memory products. With a global presence, Infineon operates in the US from San Jose, CA, in the Asia-Pacific region from Singapore and in Japan from Tokyo. In the fiscal year 2003 (ending September), the company achieved sales of Euro 6.15 billion with about 32,300 employees worldwide. Infineon is listed on the DAX index of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and on the New York Stock Exchange (ticker symbol: IFX). Further information is available at

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