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With over 2000 terms defined and explained, Semiconductor Glossary is the most complete reference in the field of semiconductors on the market today.


Including some 500 new terms defined and remaining terms updated and modified, a 2nd edition book version of this glossary is now available.

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Term (Index) Definition
aluminum, conductor, Al  common metal in semiconductor processing; used for contacts and interconnects; very low resistivity (2.7 ohm-cm); melting point 660 oC; easy deposition by evaporation or sputtering; easy etching; shortcomings: electromigration, spiking of silicon, insufficient temperature resistance.
aluminum oxide, alumina, Al2O3  oxide featuring energy gap Eg ~ 5 eV and k ~8; in the form of single-crystal known as sapphire.
copper, Cu  (i) metal of choice for interconnects in advanced ICs; resistivity the lowest among metals - 1.7 µohm-cm; advantages over aluminum: no electromigration and lower resistivity; (ii) defect causing contaminant if allowed to penetrate silicon; very fast diffusant in silicon; results in reduced lifetime of minority carriers.
electromigration  an effect plaguing some metals in particular aluminum; physical motion of atoms out of the areas where current density is very high; caused primarily by frictional force between metal ions and flowing electrons; results in the break in the metal line; common cause of malfunction of aluminum interconnect network in integrated circuits; main reason for which Al interconnects are being replaced with copper interconnects in advance IC technology.
evaporation  common technique used to deposit thin film materials; material to be deposited is heated in vacuum, 10-6 Torr - 10-7 Torr range, until it melts and starts evaporating; vapor of material is condensing on the cooler substrate exposed to the vapor; common technique in thin film metal deposition; not suitable for high melting point materials; one of the PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) methods of thin film formation.
interconnect  conductor (typically metal) line connecting elements of an integrated circuit; in very high density integrated circuits interconnect lines form multilevel network; in advanced silicon ICs interconnect lines as are made out of copper.
spiking  uncontrolled penetration of semiconductor substrate by contact metal; problem with Al in contact with silicon; may short ultra-shallow p-n junction underneath the contact.
sputtering, sputter deposition  bombardment of solid (target) by high energy chemically inert ions (e.g. Ar+)extracted from plasma; causes ejection of atoms from the target which are then re-deposited on the surface of the substrate purposely located in the vicinity of the target; common method of Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) of metals and oxides.
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Jerzy Ruzyllo is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of Electrical Engineering at Penn State University.

This book gives a complete account of semiconductor engineering covering semiconductor properties, semiconductor materials, semiconductor devices and their uses, process technology, fabrication processes, and semiconductor materials and process characterization.

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Created and operated by J. Ruzyllo. Copyright © J. Ruzyllo 2001-2016. All rights reserved.

Information in this glossary is provided at the author's discretion. Any liability based on, or related to the contents of this glossary is disclaimed.