Nanomanufacturing Materials and Processes

Kwok Ng, Director
Marie Tripp, Co-Director

The need for integrating new materials and processes in each new generation of semiconductor manufacturing technology has become more the norm than the exception in striving to achieve gains in density, performance, and functionality.


The Nanomanufacturing Materials and Processes (NMP) thrust explores new materials and processes for scaled digital and analog device fabrication. Targeted research addresses critical challenges in patterning, nanoengineered materials, deposition and etch processes, process integration, metrology, and ESH (Environment, Safety, and Health). A very important additional role of NMP research is to educate students and strengthen the academic infrastructure in the aforementioned disciplines.

Research Focus

In addition to the four major subthrusts listed below, the NMP thrust also includes embedded cross-cut research activities in common-need areas of metrology and novel analytic techniques, process modeling (including variability and defects), and design for manufacturing (DFM).


This subthrust includes research in the areas of imaging materials and pattern transfer, self-aligned patterning processes, alternative patterning techniques such as etch-free processing and directed self-assembly (DSA), and supportive metrology and modeling activities. The objectives of this subthrust are affordable, high-performance, and low-variability patterning options for advanced digital and analog/mixed-signal technologies. 

Front-End Processes (FEP)

This subthrust explores emerging research material and process options that address industry's strategic needs for active and passive device scaling, improvements in performance and reliability, and enhanced functionality.

Example topics include: (a) the chemistry and synthesis of materials which provide novel functionality and/or tunable properties, (b) material-enabled low-variability processes, (c) new thin-film deposition techniques for enhanced conformality, (d) the characterization and understanding of material interface effects, and (e) materials and processes enabling functional diversification on a CMOS platform and 3D heterogeneous integration.

Back-end Processes (BEP)

This subthrust addresses new directions for interconnects in the areas of Cu/low‑k extendibility, etch/deposition unit processes, reliability, novel global interconnect solutions, and radical new concepts for interconnect and the package/on-chip interconnect sub-system.

Example topics include: (a) new materials and processes to optimize Cu-based interconnect resistance and reliability, (b) new materials and processes to optimize low‑k dielectric capacitance and reliability, (c) optimization of interconnect interfaces and contacts, (d) alternate interconnect materials and concepts, and (e) back-end materials and processes enabling functional diversification of a CMOS platform.

Environment, Safety, and Health (ESH)

The ESH subthrust supports an overall mission of enabling sustainability and environmentally benign processing in integrated-circuit manufacturing. The SRC Center for Environmentally Benign Semiconductor Manufacturing (EBSM) provides overall coordination and leveraged university/government support for our ESH research program, as well as an opportunity for additional teaming with companies and government agencies involved in ESH activities.

NMP Metrics

  1. Current

    28 Research Tasks
    22 Universities
    43 Students
    37 Faculty Researchers
    101 Liaison Personnel
  2. This Year

    12 Task Starts
    10 Research Publications
  3. Last Year

    12 Task Starts
    102 Research Publications
    3 Patent Applications
  4. Since Inception

    91 Research Tasks
    53 Universities
    236 Students
    123 Faculty Researchers
    226 Liaison Personnel
    983 Research Publications
    10 Patent Applications
    1 Patents Granted
Updated: 17-Feb-2019, 12:05 a.m. ET

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