MSE Seminar Series: Etch Process Technology for Emerging Computing Applications

Friday, January 29, 2021
1:00 p.m.
via Zoom
Sherri Tatum

Speaker: Sebastian U. Engelmann, RSM and Manager, IBM Research

Title: Etch Process Technology for Emerging Computing Applications


Advances in the semiconductor industry, historically based on Moore’s Law and Dennard scaling, have become progressively challenging as device technology moves beyond the 7nm node. Instead of continuing to optimize compute performance in the classic sense, more and more emphasis is being put on optimizing and/or redeveloping computational approaches and device architectures to produce more efficient and higher performance systems. Hardware for novel AI systems is no exception,. New integration schemes, novel materials, multi-component materials or even nanoscale materials and the ability to integrate all of these approaches together becomes the compounded challenge. Etch technologies that offer differentiating solutions to these issues therefore need to meet somewhat conflicting demands, such as low damage processing as well as high rate processing beside many other issues.

Novel thin films, thin film laminates and alloys promising unprecedented performance are growing the need for the ultimate etch solution: etching with atomic layer precision. Atomic layer etching is a promising path to answer the processing demands of new devices at the Angstrom scale. Self-limiting reactions, discrete reaction and activation steps or extremely low ion energy plasmas are some of the pathways being pursued for precise material removal control and maintaining the original film performance. The ability to achieve atomic layer precision is reviewed in detail for a variety of material sets and implementation methods.

Multi-component integration is raising the importance of heterogeneous integration challenges. An early adapter of such integration strategies is Silicon Photonics, which leverages the microelectronic wafer fabrication infrastructure to create photonic circuits with unprecedented complexity and cost-efficiency. Novel packaging approaches for Silicon Photonics will be discussed in detail. A further outlook on heterogeneous integration approaches and how etch process development may be a critical enabler in cost reduction will be reviewed.


SEBASTIAN U. ENGELMANN is currently the Manager of the Advanced Plasma Processing Group at the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, NY. The Advanced Plasma Processing Group looks at employing plasma research in classic semiconductor applications, as well as new growth areas such as artificial intelligence and quantum computing. Futhermore, he also looks into ways of integrating plasma processes as unique elements in internet of things and/or MEMS applications.

He received his Vordiplom in Physics from the University of Würzburg, Germany in 2003 and his Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2008. In 2008, he joined the Advanced Plasma Processing Group at IBM. He was promoted to Manager of the Advanced Plasma Processing Group in 2015.

He has published over 90 peer-reviewed papers and holds over 305 patents and had numerous invited talks at international conferences. His main research activities were improving the fundamental understanding of plasma-polymer interactions with main focus on 193nm PR resist materials interactions. After that his Research activities grew into developing plasma processes that enable the integration of Trigate and Nanowire device geometries, novel materials (SiGe, III-V etc) or completely new technology apporaches (Photonics, MRAM, packaging etc.) He also has been on the organizing committee of the SPIE advanced nanopatterning conference since 2012, including two years as the conference chair. In 2020 he was elected as chair for the Plasma Division at the American Vacuum Society (AVS).

Audience: Campus 

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