For your convenience we have provided a glossary of many of the most commonly used
terms in the semiconductor industry.
To use the glossary, simply click on the letter below that corresponds to the first letter
of the term you are looking for. If there is a term that you would like to see added to the
glossary please contact us at: email@example.com
- Absorption: The adherence of the atoms, ions, or molecules to the surface of another substance (i.e. gas/solid, or liquid/solid systems). The attractive force is small (e.g. van der Waal type of force). Adsorption is a surface phenomenon, and the adsorbed atoms are referred to as adatoms.
- Acceleration: Term for imparting highly directed energy to a charged particle with an electric potential (voltage, electric field). The potential of the voltage relative to ground becomes kinetic energy as the charged particle falls through the potential. It is accelerated.
- Acceptor: An impurity from column III of the periodic table, which adds a mobile hole to silicon, thereby making it more P-type and accepting of electrons. Boron is the primary acceptor used to dope silicon. Compare donor.
- ACT-PTM: Applying Concurrent Teams to the
Product-To-Market process. An Intersil program that has established a
sector-wide procedure for new product development. The highlights of ACT-PTM
are (1) the use of concurrent development teams (with representatives from
engineering, manufacturing, marketing, and quality); (2) the direct
participation of customers; and (3) the formalization of procedures to
enhance the quality of product definition and market launch. See also
- Active Si layer: silicon layer on top of the buried
oxide (BOX) in SOI substrates.
- ADC: ADC stands for Automatic Defect Classification.
The image information of the defect stored in the image server is classified
according to the cause of the defect by the classification software based on
the predetermined rules and is then restored in the classification server.
The classified information is sent to Yield Management System (YMS) and the
host computer of the IC manufacturer so that it can be used in the failure
and defect analysis. Some systems can classify defects using ADC in
conjunction with the ADR function of the Defect Review SEM. The defect
information obtained by ADR can also be classified collectively at a later
- A/D converter: Analog-to-Digital converter. A circuit
board or integrated circuit that converts analog input signals to digital
equivalent-weight output signals. Integrated circuit converters are a major
product area for Intersil and an important element of signal processing. See
D/A converter and signal processing.
- ADR: ADR stands for Automatic Defect Review. The aim of
the Defect Review is to observe, classify and analyze the shape and
components of the defect and particles detected by wafer inspection system
in greater detail. Automatic Defect Review automatically obtains image of
the desired defect using the defect information (coordinates, etc.) obtained
in defect inspection. The data is stored and arranged into a database. In
Defect Review SEM, an image of the defect is automatically obtained and
stored using the ADR function.
- Adhesion: ability of materials to stick (adhere) to
- Adhesion promoter: material used to improve adhesion of
materials, typically photoresist to the substrate in a photolithographic
processes. Some metals are also used to promote adhesion of subsequent
- Adsorption: The binding of a gas in the interior of a solid or liquid. That is, the penetration of one substance into another, as distinguished from adsorption.
- Advancell: Libraries of standard cells designed for high performance and a broad application range, developed by Intersil in partnership with Siemens and Toshiba. The Advancell library features high-performance, essential primitive functions such as simple gates, latches/flip-flops, buffers and input/output, as well as a broad family of macrocells. See standard cell.
- Aligner: A processing tool used to transfer lithographic patterns from a photomask to a silicon wafer. Four types of aligners are in use within Intersil: contact, proximity, projection, and steppers. Contact aligners were the earliest type, and have the disadvantage of bringing the photomask in direct contact with the wafer, thereby inviting particulate contamination. The other types avoid direct mask contact and bring increasing line-width control and resolution. See also lithography, mask and stepper.
- ALU: Arithmetic Logic Unit. One of the three essential components of a microprocessor, the other two being data registers and control. The ALU performs addition and subtraction, logic operations, masking, and shifting (multiplication and division).
- Amorphous: Si, a-Si: non-crystalline thin-film silicon
having no long-range crystallographic order; inferior electrical
characteristics as compared to single-crystal and poly Si but cheaper and
easier to manufacture; used primarily to fabricate solar cells.
- Analog: A continuous representation of phenomena in terms of points along a scale, each point merging imperceptibly into the next. An analog voltage, for example, may take any value. Real world phenomena, such as heat and pressure, are analog. Compare digital.
- Analog DI: Analog Dielectric Isolation. An analog integrated circuit technique using dielectric isolation technology. See dielectric isolation.
- Analog semicustom: Analog integrated circuits that can be specified by a designer using semicustom design techniques to meet a specific design requirement. An area of Intersil specialization. Compare custom integrated circuit and see CAD.
- Analog signal processing: Processing of analog signals in the analog domain. Includes the capability of amplification, filtering, signal conditioning, multiplication. and comparison of analog signals.
- Analysis (Magnetic Analysis): The process of selecting desired ions for the ion implantation process and rejecting unwanted ions. It is accomplished through the use of a magnetic field applied transverse to the ion beam direction. This field disperses the ion beam into separate components with different mass-to-charge state ratios. Then the desired ion beam is allowed to pass through a limiting aperture, where the undesired ions are rejected (mass analysis aperture). Typical ion implantation machines have sufficient mass resolution that they can filter ions with a difference of about one AMU or more from the desired ion beam.
- Angstrom: A unit of length. 10,000 angstroms equals 1 micron. 108 angstroms equals 1 cm. A silicon atom has a lattice spacing of 5.43 angstroms. Symbol: Å. See also micron.
- Angstrom: unit of length commonly used in semiconductor
industry, though it is not recognised as a standard international unit; 1
Angstrom = 10-8 cm = 10-4 micrometer = 0.1 nm; The dimentions of a typical
- Anisotropic Etching: Highly directional etching, in which the vertical etch rate (perpendicular to the substrate surface) is much higher than the lateral etch rate (parallel to the substrate surface). This enables etching of small, high aspect ratio features with sharply vertical sidewall angles, which is required in the manufacture of advanced technology circuits. Requires plasma etching with wafer bias (relative to the plasma).
- Annealing: A thermal process in which a physical transformation (as opposed to a chemical reaction) of a material is induced by the application of thermal energy. An example is the transformation of the compound titanium silicide from the higher resistance C49 phase to the lower resistance C54 phase of this compound. It is a term borrowed from metallurgy, which defines annealing as manipulation of microstructure through the application of thermal energy and the control of peak temperature, time, ramp rate, quench rate, and ambient.
- Annealing (Anneal): A thermal process in which a physical transformation (as opposed to a chemical reaction) of a material is induced by the application of thermal energy. Because the ion implantation process inherently (i.e. unavoidably) produces damage in the silicon substrate, it is necessary to follow the implantation process at some point with a high temperature annealing process. The high temperature annealing heals the silicon damage and produces high dopant activation fractions. Unfortunately, this high temperature annealing process can also produce unwanted re-distribution of the implanted dopants by diffusion. Annealing is a term borrowed from metallurgy, which defines annealing as manipulation of microstructure through the application of thermal energy and the control of peak temperature, time, ramp rate, quench rate, and ambient.
- Application Specific Integrated Circuit: A type of
semiconductor device customized or semi-customized to suit a customer’s
particular requirements. Examples of semi-customized ASICs include gate
arrays, standard cells, and field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs).
- ARDE (Aspect Ratio Dependence Effects): For feature sizes <1 micron and aspect ratio >1, observed reactive ion etch rates may depend on aspect ratio and local feature pattern density on the wafer. This dependence is called ARDE. It is caused by local variations in ion transport, surface charging, and neutral species transport (microscopic transport dynamics). [Micro-loading effects occur from local depletion of reactive species.} Also see: micro-loading and loading.
- Arrhenius plot: A graphical plotting technique that allows extraction of the activation energy (Ea) for thermally activated processes (whose reaction rates are exponentially dependent on the temperature). It is based on the use of the Arrhenius law (reaction rate R = Aexp[-Ea/kT]). It also enables visualization of the relative dominance of competing reactions at different temperatures. It is constructed by plotting experimental measurements of reactions as the inverse of the temperature (T) of the measurements (independent variable) against the logarithm of the measured reaction products (dependant variable) at that temperature.
- Arrival Angle: The range of angles at which the reactant gases arrive at the surface of the wafer. The arrival angle plays an important role in determining the quality of the step coverage, and is a function of the geometry at the wafer's surface.
- ASCII: American Standard Code for Information Interchange. An eight-bit code for alpha-numeric character transfer adopted by the American Standards Association to achieve universal compatibility among data devices. Pronounced "ask-ee."
- ASIC: Application Specific Integrated Circuit. Semiconductor circuits specifically designed to suit a customer's particular requirement, as opposed to a DRAM or microcontroller, which are general-purpose parts. See custom integrated circuit.
- ASP: Average Selling Price.
- Assembly: The step in semiconductor manufacturing in which the device is encased in a plastic, ceramic, or other package. In some cases, the chip is assembled directly on a printed circuit board.
- ASSP: Application Specific Standard Product. A standard product that has been designed to implement a specific application function, as opposed to a general-purpose product such as a RAM. Intersil offers numerous ASSPs, including SLICs, data communication ICs and power supply ICs.
- ATPG: Automatic Test Program Generation. Automatic translation from a test description language into tester-specific format. The end result is a test program used by a specific IC tester to test a specific device. It can also describe an automated method of generating patterns for use in engineering workstation simulation of ASIC devices. See engineering workstation.
- AVLSI: Advanced Very Large Scale Integration. A mainstream CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor) process technology used at Intersil's Research Triangle Park Microelectronics Center in North Carolina. This process provides high density by virtue of its 1.25-micron feature size, and is designed with inherent latch-up resistance. Analog and radiation-tolerant variants of AVLSI also are available.
- Back end: In semiconductor manufacturing, the package
assembly and test stages of production. Includes burn-in and environmental
test functions. Compare front end.
- Ball Grid Array: A type of chip carrier used for IC
packaging. It has a matrix of solder balls under the package that serves as
output terminals. The device is placed on a printed circuit board and heated
until the solder balls melt to form connections. Because a BGA can provide
numerous interconnection pins, it is often used for packaging LSIs.
- Bandwidth: The width measure of a signal or
signal-carrying channel from the lowest to the highest frequency (or bit
rate). For analog signals, the width is in the frequency domain, expressed
in Hz. For digital signals, the width is in the time domain, expressed in
bits per second. In semiconductor devices, the bandwidth is the range of
frequency (or bit rate) in which the performance characteristics are within
- Bandwidth: The range of frequency of a signal or
signal-carrying channel. For digital signals, the width is expressed as the
data transfer rate, in bits per second. In semiconductor devices, the
bandwidth is the frequency range in which the performance characteristics
fall within specified limits.
- Bandgap, energy gap (Eg): forbidden energy levels
separating the valence and conduction bands. no electrons are allowed to
have energies at these levels. learn more.
- Bandgap engineering: processes in which the chemical
composition of a semiconductor is altered in a controlled way to achieve a
specific energy gap; learn more.
- Base: One of the three regions that form a bipolar
transistor. It physically separates the emitter and collector regions.
Minority carriers are injected from the emitter into the base, where they
subsequently either recombine or diffuse into the collector. See also
collector and emitter.
- Base: The region of a bipolar transistor that separates
the emitter and collector regions.
- Batch process: process in which many wafers are
processed simultaneously, as opposed to a single wafer process;
- Behavioral simulation: The ability to simulate the
behavior of a function described by a high-level descriptive language such
as C, Pascal, Verilog HDL and VHDL.
- BiCMOS: Bipolar Complementary Metal Oxide
Semiconductor. An IC technology combining the linearity and speed advantages
of bipolar and the low-power advantages of CMOS on a single IC. BiCMOS can
operate at either ECL (emitter-coupled-logic) or TTL
(transistor-transistor-logic) levels, and is ideal for mixed-signal devices.
It has been predicted that BiCMOS will eclipse CMOS in the '90s, just as
CMOS edged out MOS and bipolar circuits in the '80s. Intersil is developing
a broad family of BiCMOS processes that combine analog, digital and power
functions on a single chip. See also CMOS, ECL circuit, TTL, HBC-10 and
- BiMOS: Bipolar Metal Oxide Semiconductor. A general
term to refer to bipolar and MOS on one chip. Sometimes used interchangeably
with "BiCMOS." See also Power BiMOS.
- Binary number system: A number system employed in
computers and digital systems, in which successive digits are coefficients
of powers of the base 2, rather than the base 10. For example, the decimal
number 13 is represented by the binary number 1101 (1 x 23 + 1 x 22 + 0 x 21
+ 1 x 20). Since the only values in the binary system are "0" and "1,"
quantities, or BITS (binary digits) are represented electronically with
either of two conditions, typically a high voltage representing a "1" and a
low voltage representing a "0". See bit.
- Bio Chip: A microfluidic device used for biomedical
purposes, made with microfabrication technologies developed for
semiconductors and MEMS. Micro total analysis system (μTAS) and DNA chip are
among its subcategories. The chip’s applications include genomic analysis
and blood analysis.
- Bipolar transistor: An active semiconductor device
formed by two P-N junctions whose function is amplification of an electric
current. Bipolar transistors are of two types: NPN and PNP, depending on the
manner in which the two P-N junctions are combined. Bipolar transistors have
three sections: emitter, base, and collector. Operation of a bipolar
transistor depends on the migration of both electrons and holes, in contrast
to field-effect transistors, where only one polarity carrier predominates.
- Bipolar transistor: Commonly used for amplification, a
bipolar transistor is made from a sandwich of N- and P-type semiconductor
material, resulting in either a PNP or NPN transistor. The middle section is
known as the "base" and the other two as the "collector" and "emitter." In
P-type material, electric charges are carried mainly in the form of electron
deficiencies called holes. In N-type material, the charge carriers are
primarily electrons. Bipolar devices can switch signals at high speeds, and
can be manufactured to handle large currents, making them useful for
applications such as high-power amplifiers in wireless transmitters.
- BIR: Building In Reliability.
- Bit: Binary digit. A digit (1 or 0) in the
representation of a number in binary notation. The smallest unit of
information recognized by a digital computer. Used to represent two states
in the binary number system. Eight bits make a byte. See binary number
- Boat: 1. a device made of high purity temperature
resistant materials such as fused silica, quartz, poly Si, or SiC. designed
to hold many semiconductor wafers during thermal or other processes; 2.
device designed to simultaneously contain source material during evaporation
while at the same time heating the source to its melting point; made of
highly conductive, temperature resistant material through which current is
- BOM: Bill of Materials. List of specifications that
uniquely defines manufacturing sequence, materials and procedures utilized
in the manufacture of a specific product.
- Bonded SOI: SOI substrate formed by bonding two silicon
wafers with oxidized surfaces such one wafer is formed with an oxide layer
sandwiched between two layers of Si; one wafer is subsequently polished down
to a specified thickness to form an active layer where devices will be
- Bonded wafer: A composite dielectrically isolated
substrate formed by fusing together (at high temperature) the oxidized
surfaces of two individual silicon substrates. Bonded wafers are being
developed to extend the Intersil DI (dielectric isolation) technology to
wafers as large as six inches in diameter. ICs formed in such wafers provide
higher breakdown voltage and a higher level of radiation resistance than
devices fabricated in conventional DI substrates.
- Bonding: The process of connecting wires from the
package leads to the chip (or die) bonding pads. Part of the assembly
process. Alternately, the process of securing a semiconductor die to a lead
frame or package. See bond pad.
- Bond pad: An area (typically 100µm x 100µm) on the
periphery of a silicon die for making connection to one of the package pins.
A small-diameter gold or aluminum wire is bonded to the pad area by a
combination of heat and ultrasonic energy. See bonding.
- Boost converter: A boost converter is a DC-DC power
converter which increases (steps up or boost) its input voltage to produce
an output voltage with a higher magnitude. The boost converter is capable of
increasing its input voltage by a factor of more than 5 times depending upon
the switch duty cycle ratio and the circuit losses. The transfer ratio of
the boost converter is proportional to: M(D) = 1/(1 – D) where D is the duty
ratio when switch 1 is closed.
- Boron: element from group III of the periodic table;
acts as an acceptor in silicon; Boron is the only p-type dopant used in
silicon device manufacturing.
- Bow: Concavity, curvature, or deformation of the wafer
centerline independent of any thickness variation present.
- BOX: buried oxide in SOI substrates.
- Burn In: A process by which components of a system are
exercised for a certain period of time before placed in service. The process
tests the reliability of ICs and LSIs and eliminates substandard or
defective products. The test may be conducted in a high-temperature
environment to obtain results in a relatively short time.
- Boundary scan: The addition of a partitioning test
circuit to the input/output boundary of an IC to control and monitor the
logic state of its internal circuit nodes.
- BPSG: BoroPhosphoSilicate Glass. BPSG is an oxide
primarily used as a field dielectric. It is deposited in a PECVD reactor
using a mixture of SiH4, B2H6, and PH3 with N2O in a temperature and
pressure controlled environment. BPSG is used principally because of its'
lower melting point (viscous flow temperature) compared to other oxides.
BPSG can be deposited over delineated polysilicon and can 'flow' at
temperatures low enough to not significantly alter the dopant profiles in
the underlying device silicon. This smoothing improves metal-level step
coverage. BPSG is not a good passivation material because it is hydroscopic
in nature. See PECVD
- Bread Loafing: The tendency of CVD films to establish thicker film coverage at the upper corners of metal lines. This occurs as a result of the fact that the arrival angle is greatest at these corners (270 degrees). The resulting film therefore exhibits a cross-sectional shape reminiscent of a loaf of bread.
- Bridgman growth: A method of growing single-crystal
semiconductors (typically III-V) using a multi-zone furnace in which the
various elements are in contact with a seed; the melt is passed from higher
to lower temperature zone, in a fassion similar to the float-zone (FZ)
crystal growth method.
- In electronics: a device that is used to provide compatibility
between two signals. Typically the device is used to change the
voltage or current level capability, e.g. interfacing the output of a
CMOS device to the input of a TTL device. See also bus driver, TTL.
- In computing: an area of memory used for temporary storage of
information. Typically, the buffer is used to pass or share
information between different processes.
- In chemistry: a solution characterized by the ability to withstand
changes in pH when limited amounts an acid or base are added.
- Bus: Four or more parallel conductors in an information
processing system along which information is transmitted from one part to
another. The microprocessor, peripherals, memory and other components are
interconnected by a common bus.
- Bus driver: An integrated circuit added to the bus to
facilitate sufficient drive to the CPU when several peripheral devices are
tied to the bus. Drivers are necessary because of capacitive loading, which
slows down the data rate and prevents proper time sequencing of system
operation. See buffer.
- Byte: From the expression "by eights." A group of eight
contiguous bits (binary digits) handled as a unit in computer processing. A
byte can store one alphanumeric character. A kilobyte (KB) is 1024 bytes or
8192 bits. A megabyte (MB) is 1024 kilobytes or 1,048,576 bytes or 8,388,608
- C (programming language):
A general-purpose programming language developed in the 1970s by Dennis Ritchie of AT&T; Bell Labs. Its generality, machine independence, and efficiency have made C popular for many application areas. The Unix operating system is written in C and the close linking of Unix and C have made C the de facto standard language in engineering software development.
- CAD: Computer-Aided Design. The use of computer aids (hardware and software) in the electrical and physical design and verification of new things. Historically, CAD has been more used to describe the physical design rather than the electrical design, although currently the distinction is so blurry as to be meaningless. As applied to Intersil products, this means single-chip and multi-chip electronic functions. CAD allows Intersil design engineers to design integrated circuits of continually increasing complexity with decreasing product-to-market times. Of increasing importance to Intersil is that because of the strength of our CAD capability, we can allow customers to do their own designs using Intersil's advanced analog and mixed-signal processes. Analog and mixed-signal design is a much more complex problem than pure digital design. (Neither is easy.) A strong CAD capability is an essential requirement for the types of designs produced by Intersil.
Computer-Aided Engineering. Traditionally, CAE has been used to describe the electrical design rather than the physical design, although these distinctions have blurred. See CAD.
Computer-Aided Manufacturing. The use of computer aids (hardware and software) in planning the construction, tracking the construction, analyzing, and implementing the construction of manufactured things. As applied to Intersil products, this means primarily the construction of single-chip and multi-chip electronic devices. CAM provides Intersil manufacturing engineers the control necessary to cost-effectively build our high-mix product portfolio. Most CAM systems track product flow, equipment usage, reasons for down time, change requests, rework, and the people involved. Intersil's systems, in addition, are known for their powerful planning and delivery capabilities. See IMPReSS.
- Capacitor: An electrical component with a dielectric
material sandwiched between two metal terminals. When a voltage is applied
to a capacitor, it stores electrical charge proportionate to the voltage
level, and this effect (called capacitance) is used to smooth out the
rectified current and suppress electrical noise. In a DRAM, capacitors are
used as a memory cell device, with charged capacitors representing “1” and
uncharged capacitors representing “0.” Also, capacitors block direct current
while allowing alternating current to pass
- Carbon doping: Adding carbon to a semiconductor
material to increase its conductivity. Other common dopants include silicon,
beryllium, and zinc. The material and type and level of doping determine
whether the semiconductor is N-type or P-type.
- Carbon Nanotube: Carbon nanotubes refer to tubular
microstructures formed by one or more layers of carbon sheet called
graphene. Carbon nanotubes were discovered in 1991 by Sumio Iijima, who was
a researcher at NEC’s lab in Tsukuba. Those with a single layer of graphene
are called single-walled nanotubes (SWNTs), whereas those with two layers
and those with more than one layer are referred to as double-walled
nanotubes (DWNTs) and multi-walled nanotubes (MWNTs), respectively. Carbon
nanotubes are highly promising as the next-generation semiconductor
- Carrier Gas: An An inert gas such as Hydrogen, Nitrogen, or Argon used to dilute the reactant gas in a CVD system. Also referred to as the dilutent gas.
- Cathode Dark Space: A region close to the cathode that electrons traverse very quickly, but is too short a distance for them to acquire sufficient energy to generate an ionization event, or any light generating electron-atom excitation events.
- CD: Critical Dimension. A feature size as in 0.25
- CdsSPICE: Cadence Design System's version of the
popular circuit simulator, SPICE. See SLICE and SPICE.
- CD-SEM: CD-SEM stands for Critical Dimension-Scanning
Electron Microscope. CD-SEM is application equipment for a scanning electron
microscope. It is a dedicated system for measuring the dimensions of the
fine patterns formed on a semiconductor wafer. It is mainly used in the
manufacturing lines of electronic devices of semiconductors.
- Central Processing Unit: A semiconductor chip that
serves as the brain of a computer. It consists of a control unit, an
arithmetic/logic unit, a register where the output of operations is
temporarily stored, an interface with storage units, and input/output
interfaces with peripherals. A CPU fulfills the first two of the five basic
computer functions defined by John von Neumann (arithmetic/logic, control,
memory, input, and output).
- CERDIP: CERamic Dual-Inline Package. A package
assembled with the leadframe sandwiched between two ceramic layers and
sealed by firing a glass frit.
- CERPACK: CERamic PACKage. A CERDIP-like package with
the leadframe extended out on two or four sides, typically in
surface-mounting format. Characteristics similar to CERDIP. Also known as
CERQUAD (leads on all four sides), CERPAC, or CERPAK.
- Channel: The region separating the source and drain of
a field-effect transistor. The channel is designed to be normally "on"
(conducting) for depletion-mode FETs, or normally "off" (insulating) for
enhancement-mode FETs. With the application of a voltage to the gate
electrode, the conducting properties of the channel are altered, thereby
controlling the current across the channel. The length of the channel is an
important parameter in determining the current of the FET, as well as its
speed. See also drain, FET, gate, and source.
- Channeled array: A gate array base die with basic cells
arranged in rows or columns. This arrangement permits routing in the spaces
(channels) between rows of gates. Routing efficiency is usually high, near
90% or more. Routing is generally achieved by placing macros along single
rows or columns. TGC103, TGC105 and TGC108 are examples of a channeled
- Channelless array: A gate array base die with basic
cells covering the entire core with no row or column spacing. This array is
often called a "sea-of-gates" (an LSI Logic, Inc. trademark) and is more
difficult to route. Efficiencies are often 35% or less, due to complexity of
the routing process. The advantage to this architecture is that macros can
be placed in blocks, which increases macro performance. Larger TGC100 family
members are channelless, and smaller members may be redesigned using this
- Channeling (Ion Channeling): Single crystal silicon inherently has well ordered arrays of silicon atoms with very open directions in the crystal lattice. When an ion beam is well aligned to one of these very open directions, the ions will penetrate the silicon surface to a greater depth than would otherwise be expected (i.e. calculated). This effect is called channeling. In order to avoid process variations resulting from channeling, the silicon wafer is deliberately positioned in certain carefully selected orientations (wafer orientation) to the incoming ion beam.
- Characterization node: A characterization node is a characterization parameter which impacts reliability and is measured during initial process or product characterization and at infrequent intervals, thereafter. See characterization parameter, performance node.
- Characterization parameter:
A characterization parameter is a measurement taken on a process, tool, or product during a process or product characterization and at infrequent intervals thereafter. See characterization node.
- Charge-Coupled Device: An image sensing device that
serves as an electronic eye. It has an array of light sensitive elements
that generates electrical charges when exposed to light. The charges are
consecutively transferred to adjacent elements until they reach the end of
the line to be processed. CCDs are commonly used in digital cameras and
- Charge Exchange (Reaction): An interaction
between ions in the beam treating a substrate and the (inevitable) residual
gases in the vacuum system. These interactions can produce charge state
changes in beam ions. When this occurs, dose (and energy) errors can and do
occur in the implantation process. Charge exchange reactions (e.g.
neutralization) are the primary source of dose errors in ion implantation
- Charging: A build-up of charge on the substrate surface can occur during plasma etching. This is called charging. It typically occurs on floating structures, and is exacerbated by non-uniformity in the etching plasma. Charging can damage the substrate, particularly the gate oxide dielectric during polysilicon gate etch.
- Charging: During the ion implantation process, a net positive charge can build up on the substrate being treated by the ion beam. This is referred to as charging. If the charge build up is sufficiently large, it can damage dielectric films on the wafer, degrading their insulating properties (e.g. the gate oxide dielectric capability). Charging is mitigated through the use of a flood gun, which provides low energy electrons to the ion beam near the substrate, which reduces the magnitude of the positive charging.
- Chemical Mechanical Polishing, CMP: method of
planarization, removing layers of solid by chemical-mechanical polishing.
- Chemical Mechanical Polishing: A technology/tool for
planarizing the wafer surface by combining chemical reactions and mechanical
polishing. In a typical CMP process, a wafer is pressed against a rotating
table covered with a polishing pad, while a slurry containing colloidal
silica abrasives is deposited between the wafer and the pad. A non-abrasive
slurry may be used depending on the wafer surface material to be removed.
- Chemical Vapor Deposition: A chemical process for
producing thin films of required materials on the surface of a substrate.
Specifically, gases containing the desired materials are introduced in the
reaction chamber, and chemical reactions are induced to deposit thin films
on the substrate. In semiconductor production processes, CVD is used for
depositing interconnect materials and dielectric films necessary to form
circuits on a silicon wafer.
- Chip: Also called a die. Popular term describing a
section of a wafer that contains a discrete component or an integrated
circuit. Many chips are made on a single wafer, then separated into dice and
- Chip: A piece of substrate made of silicon or other
materials on which electronic devices or circuits are implemented. A chip is
also called a pellet or a die in the manufacturing processes. Often a
finished and packaged IC is referred to as a chip.
- Chip carrier: A low-profile component package, usually
square, whose active chip cavity or mounting area is a large fraction of the
package size, and whose external connections are usually on all four sides
of the package.
- Chip-level integration: The combination of two or more
integrated-circuit functions and/or technologies on one IC to achieve
miniaturization, reduce systems cost, and make new applications possible.
Particularly important for signal processing and power control solutions,
Intersil has placed great emphasis on this area.
- CIM: Computer-Integrated Manufacturing. The integration
of computer control and monitoring into a manufacturing process.
- Circuit: A combination of electrical or electronic
components, interconnected to perform one or more specific functions.
- Circuit: An assemblage of interconnected electrical or
- Circuit simulation: An accurate means of verifying the
behavior of a circuit before it is fabricated. Very accurate models of the
circuit devices--such as transistors, resistors, and capacitors--are used in
a simulator that applies efficient numerical analysis algorithms to solve
fundamental circuit analysis equations.
- CISC: Complex Instruction Set Computer. The Intersil
80C286 CMOS CPU is a CISC part. Considered the most common CPU architecture
of the 1980s. More flexible and full-featured than RISC. Compare RISC.
- Class 'B': A screening process for circuits that are
intended for use in ground-based military electronic systems. Must conform
with screening standards per MIL-std 883-C and MIL-M-38510. Compare Class
- Class 'S': A screening process for circuits that are
intended for use in satellite systems for military space applications. Must
conform with screening standards per MIL-std 883-C and MIL-M-38510. Compare
- Clean room: A confined area in which the humidity,
temperature, and particulate matter are precisely controlled within
specified units. The "class" of the clean room defines the maximum number of
particles of 0.3 micron size or larger that may exist in one cubic foot of
space anywhere in the designated area. For example, in a Class 1 clean room
only one particle of any kind may exist in one cubic foot of space. Newer
clean rooms are typically Class 1-10, and are needed for manufacturing ICs
with feature size close to 1 micron.
- Clean room: A room in which the climate and particulate
matter are precisely controlled. Clean rooms are "classed" according to a
maximum number of particles (0.3 micron or larger) that may exist in any one
cubic foot of space within the defined area. A Class 1 clean room is limited
to only one particle in a cubic foot of space.
- Clean Room: A space with a controlled level of
contamination for manufacturing ICs. Filtered air flows downward from the
clean room ceiling toward the floor in a constant stream. An especially high
level of cleanliness is required for the front-end-of-line (FEOL) processes.
- Cleanroom: enclosed ultra-clean space necessary for
semiconductor manufacturing. Airborne particles are removed from the space
to specified minimum levels, room temperature and humidity are strictly
controlled; clean rooms are rated and range from Class 1 to Class 10,000.
The number corresponds to the number of particles per cubic foot.
- Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor: A device that
combines a p-type MOSFET (PMOS) and an n-type MOSFET (NMOS) so they
complement each other. Unlike single-type PMOS and NMOS devices, a CMOS
conducts very little current except while switching between on and off
states, which makes it ideal for implementing low-power logic circuits. CMOS
is the mainstream of current LSI technology.
- Compound Semiconductor: A compound semiconductor is a
semiconductor composed of two or more elements. Examples include gallium
arsenide (GaAs), gallium phosphide (GaP), indium phosphide (InP), and
cadmium sulfide (CdS) semiconductors. Compound semiconductors are suitable
for high-frequency, high-speed devices such as mobile phones.
- Cosed architecture: A system whose characteristics are
proprietary and therefore cannot be readily connected with other systems.
Compare open architecture.
- CLY: Circuit Limited Yield. See yield.
- CMOS: Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor. A MOS
technology in which both P-channel and N-channel components are fabricated
on the same die to provide integrated circuits that use less power than
those made with other MOS (metal oxide semiconductor) or bipolar processes.
- CMOS Image Sensor: A low-power image sensor based on
CMOS sensor technology. A CIS consumes only about 1/10 of power needed for a
CCD, operates with a single voltage supply, and can integrate peripheral
circuits on the same chip.
- CMOS2, CMOS3, CMOS3.5: A family of CMOS processes
developed in Intersil's Findlay, Ohio facility. These processes are used to
support a wide range of digital applications, including microprocessors,
logic, automotive and semicustom. All of the processes use junction
isolation and local oxidation (LOCOS) to separate individual devices within
a circuit. Their gate length is 3m, 2m and 1.5m respectively.
- CMP: Chemical-Mechanical Polish (for planarization of
wafers). See wafer.
- COB: Chip-On-Board. One of many configurations in which
a chip is directly bonded to a circuit board or substrate. These approaches
include wire bonding, TAB, or flip-chip interconnections. See wire bonding,
- Cold Wall: A CVD reactor which features reactor walls that are cooler than the chamber interior and the wafers being processed. The advantage of this approach is that less material is deposited on the cool chamber walls.
- Collector: One of the three regions that form a bipolar
transistor. The base-collector P-N junction is usually reverse-biased so
that minority carriers that are injected into the base from the emitter are
efficiently extracted into the collector. See also base, bipolar transistor
- COMFET: See IGBT.
- Comparator: A device that compares two inputs for
equality. One type compares voltages and gives one of two outputs--less than
or greater than. Another type compares binary numbers and has three
outputs--less than, equal to, or greater than. A third type compares phase
or frequency and gives an analog output voltage depending on the
relationship between the inputs.
- Compiler: (1) A software tool used to translate
higher-level languages (e.g., C, FORTRAN, COBOL) into machine code, or, (2)
A software tool used to translate specifications of circuit functions (e.g.,
RAM, ROM, ALU, controller) into schematics and layouts.
- Complementary: A term describing integrated circuits
that employ components of both polarity types connected in such a way that
operation of either is complemented. A complementary bipolar circuit would
employ both NPN and PNP transistors, and a complementary MOS circuit (CMOS)
would employ both N-channel and P-channel devices. In general, complementary
devices operate with opposite polarity voltages and currents--advantageous
in many circuit applications.
- Compound semiconductor: synthetic semiconductor formed
using two or more elements mainly from groups II through VI of the periodic
table; compound semiconductors do not appear in nature;
- Compressive Film: A CVD film that is under compressive stress after it has been deposited, such as APCVD PSG.
- COMSEC: COMmunications SECurity. In semiconductors, refers to devices
(generally embedded modules) designed into a host communications system to
prevent unauthorized access. Intersil serves this secure communications
market with custom and build-to-print ICs.
- Concurrent engineering: A parallel development approach
for reducing time-to-market as well as improving the quality and market
impact of new products. Concurrent teams are comprised of representatives
from engineering, manufacturing, marketing, quality, etc., and make a
special effort to involve the ultimate customer during product definition.
See also ACT-PTM.
- Condensation: The transformation of gas into a solid or liquid.
- Condenser: A condenser is a device that stores a charge
in a conductor and is used as an electrical circuit component. It conducts
alternating current (high-frequency) but does not conduct direct current
(low-frequency) (such as accumulating electricity). In circuit design, it is
used together with other components such as resistors and coils to control
charging and discharging. Condenser is also used as a component in the IC.
- Conduction band: the upper energy band in a
semiconductor separated from the valence band by the energy gap; The
conduction band is not completely filled with electrons, hence, electrons
are free to "conduct."
- Conductor: Any material, such as aluminum, copper or gold, that offers
little resistance to the flow of electrical current.
- Conductor: Any material that offers little resistance
to the flow of electrical current (e.g., aluminum, copper, gold).
- Consortium: A
combination or group of organizations formed to undertake a common objective
that is beyond the resources or capabilities of any single organization.
Plural: consortia. Intersil participates in several industry consortia,
specifically SRC, MCC, and SEMATECH. See SRC, MCC, and SEMATECH.
- Contamination: The presence of unwanted particles, chemicals, or other
- Control block: The circuitry that performs the control functions
of the CPU. It is responsible for decoding microprogrammed instructions and
then generating the internal control signals that perform the operation
- Control parameter: A control parameter is a measurement taken for
the purpose of controlling an in-line process or as a test on product. See
- Converter: See A/D converter, D/A converter and DC-DC
- Converter: A converter is a device used to convert
alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC). It also serve as a
rectifier. When using a DC electronic device from a household AC power
source, AC is converted to DC by a built-in converter (AC-DC converter
circuit) or by an external AC adapter. A device that converts DC to AC is
called an inverter.
- Convolver: A circuit element that implements convolution, a
mathematical process that is the basis for all filters and fundamental to
DSP. Intersil DSP products include two-dimensional convolvers, which are
used to filter images. Filtering suppresses unwanted elements of an image
and accentuates the features that are needed to understand the content of
the image. Common types of two-dimensional filters are low pass, high pass,
and edge detection. Low pass filters reduce noise, high pass filters
emphasize the details in an image, and edge detectors bring out the outlines
of objects. This is a new product area for Intersil.
- COP: COP stands for Crystal Originated Particle. One of
the various silicon wafer surface defects. Their basic micro structure is
octahedral void shape with the size of sub-micron scale.
- Copper Interconnect: Copper interconnects were a
technology which was introduced by IBM as a solution to the decrease in
interconnect delay for highly scaled semiconductor devices, and have become
the mainstream in interconnects for logic devices.
- Core competencies: An
area of unique strength or expertise. Intersil uses the term to refer to
capabilities, process technologies, or product types that provide the
company with a competitive advantage.
- CPU: Central Processing Unit. The heart
of any computer system. Basically, the CPU is made up of data registers,
computational circuits, the control block, and I/O (input /output.) See
microprocessor and MPU.
- CPU: CPU, the abbreviation for Central Processing Unit,
is an electronic circuit working as the core of a processing device in
- Critical node: A critical node is a control parameter
which impacts the reliability of a circuit on a given technology. See
- Current: The flow of electrons or holes. Usually measured
in amperes (amp or A) or in fractions of an ampere (milli-amps or
micro-amps). Current can be induced by application of an electric field
through a conductor or by changing the electric field across a capacitor
- Custom cell synthesis (CCS): Similar to symbolic
layout and compaction, CCS takes as its symbolic beginning the transistor
schematic of the circuit. From there, the layout and compaction are equally
dependent on the quality of the algorithm and the layout rules for the
minimization of the area taken up by the circuit.
- Customer satisfaction
index: An objective measure of performance against customer expectations, as
monitored through formal interviews with specific customers. Used by
Intersil to identify problem areas and correct deficiencies.
integrated circuit: An integrated circuit that requires a full set of masks
specifically designed for a particular function or application. A custom IC
is usually developed for a specific customer and may have to withstand harsh
environments. Intersil offers a wide range of process technologies for
analog, mixed signal and intelligent power applications. Intersil has more
than 20 years experience in the custom market, specifically targeting
applications requiring analog and radiation-hardening technologies.
- CVD: Chemical Vapor Deposition. 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.
- Czochralski (CZ): The Czochralski or
CZ crystal growth technique is the most frequently used method for producing
large single crystals of silicon (also germanium or gallium-arsenide). In
the CZ method a cylindrical single crystal is pulled vertically from silicon
melt in a heated crucible. The growth is initiated by dipping a small seed
crystal in the melt, and after the thermal equilibrium is reached, the
crystal is pulled upwards so that it grows with a constant diameter. At the
same time, the crystal rod and the crucible are rotated in opposite
directions. These crystal rods are cut into thin wafers and processed to be
used in integrated circuit (IC) manufacturing. See Gallium Arsenide,
integrated circuit, silicon.
- Cryogenic pump: an efficient, clean high-vacuum pump
operating in the pressure range from about 10-3 torr to 10-10 torr; removes
gas molecules from vacuum by trapping them on cold surfaces; learn more.
- Crystal: solid featuring periodic spatial arrangement
of atoms throughout the entire piece of material learn more.
- Crystal defects: imperfections of the crystallographic
structure of a crystal. 1. point defects 2. line defects 3. planar defects
4. volume defects.
- Czochralski Crystal Growth, CZ: process utilizing
crystal pulling to obtain single-crystal solids; the most common method for
obtaining large diameter semiconductor wafers (e.g. 300 mm Si wafers);
desired conductivity type and doping level is accomplished by adding dopants
to molten material. Wafers used in high-end Si microelectronics are almost
uniquely CZ grown.
- Crystal pulling: process in which single-crystal seed
is slowly withdrawn from the melt and material condenses at the liquid-solid
interface gradually forming a rod-shaped piece of single-crystal material.
Crystal pulling is the foundation of the Czochralski (CZ) single-crystal
- D/A converter: Digital-to-Analog converter. A circuit
that converts digital input signals to analog output signals. D-to-A and
A-to-D converters are a major product area for Intersil Semiconductor and an
important element of signal processing. See A/D converter and signal
- Damage (Implant Damage): As energetic particles are injected into silicon by the ion implantation process, they create damage in the silicon single crystal structure (or any target material). These defects are produces as a result of the nuclear stopping power mechanism by which energetic particles come to rest in solids. This damage is eventually removed by an anneal process, subsequent to the implantation process. See also: annealing.
- Data acquisition: The process by which events in the
real world are translated to machine-readable signals. The term usually
refers to automated systems in which sensors are attached to machinery.
- DC operation: Direct Current (DC) is the mode of
operation where a transistor is operated under constant, direct voltage
bias. Also see RF Operation.
- DC-DC converter: DC-DC converter or DC-to-DC converter
is a broad term for any microcircuit, module, or board assembly which
converts a source of direct current (DC) from one voltage level to another.
A step-down or buck converter steps the voltage down so that the output
voltage is lower than the input voltage. A step-up or boost converter boosts
the voltage so that the output voltage is higher than the input voltage. A
buck-boost converter can provide a constant output voltage when the input
voltage range is above or below the output voltage. This is commonly used in
battery applications. Most DC-DC converters also regulate the output voltage
and can be referred to as "regulators." Two types of regulators are linear
regulators and switching regulators.
- DC parametrics: The operating characteristics of an
integrated circuit or discrete device that can be measured with the device
in a static condition. See parametric tests.
- DC / RF properties: DC (direct current ) and RF (radio
frequency) properties are determined by the vertical and horizontal
dimensions of transistor layers.
- DDD: Double Diffused Drain. See diffusion and drain.
- DDM: Defect Diagnostic Matrix. See defect.
- Deceleration (Decel): Term for reducing the energy of a charged particle (an ion, whose energy was obtained through acceleration). Decelerating an ion with an appropriately oriented potential (voltage, electric field) reduces the energy (velocity) of the charged particle.
- Defect: A chemical or structural irregularity that
degrades the crystal structure of silicon or of the deposited materials that
reside on its surface. Defects can be active mobile impurities that impact
the electrical device characteristics over time, or inactive particulates
that interfere with the photolithographic patterning. The most common
defects in semiconductor processing are those originating from people (oil,
cosmetics, sneezing, skin flakes, etc.)
- Defect Review-SEM: Defect Review-SEM is the application
equipment for a scanning electron microscope (SEM). The wafer defect
inspection equipment detects defects on a semiconductor wafer. Then, Review
SEM is used to acquire the defect's image of high magnification enough to
recognize using SEM capabilities.
- Defects: Flaws in the single crystal structure of silicon. These may be point defects (e.g. interstitial silicon, vacancies at silicon lattice sites), clusters of point defects, precipitates (e.g. SiO2), or extended defects (e.g. stacking faults, dislocations).
- Degenerate semiconductor: semiconductor that is so
heavily doped that its Fermi level is closer to one of the band edges
(either conduction or valence) than 2 kT/q; properties of degenerate
semiconductors must be described using the Fermi-Dirac statistics instead of
- Denuded zone: very thin region on a semiconductor
substrate surface cleared from contaminants and/or defects by gettering;
- Depletion-mode FET: A FET designed so that the channel
is in the "on" state with no voltage applied to the gate. See also channel,
enhancement-mode FET, FET, gate and source.
- Deposition: The procedure in which materials are
deposited onto a substrate. Usually refers to thin conducting or insulating
films used to form MOS gates, capacitors, thin-film resistors, and the
interconnect system for an IC.
- DESC: Defense Electronic Supply Center. DESC, located
in Dayton, Ohio, is the agency responsible for procurement of electronic
supplies for the U.S. military. It certifies that semiconductor vendors are
in compliance with military parts specifics, such as MIL-M-38510. DESC also
stocks piece parts for spares. Pronounced "deh-see".
- Desorbtion: The process of removing physically sorbed gases, e.g. by vaporization (liquid to gas), or sublimation (solid directly into a gas).
- Device design: The operation in which a designer
tailors the transistors exactly to their function in the circuit. In the
Intersil FASTRACK design system, very specific and accurate sizings of
transistors are made under the general categories of high speed, low noise,
or high current transistor types. See FASTRACK.
- DFM: Design For Manufacturability utilizes statistical
information on manufacturing process characteristics to ensure that the
circuit design falls within the parameters of normal manufacturing variances
for each process element. This allows the designer to center the design for
maximum performance and enhances yields, thereby reducing cost.
- DFR: Design For Reliability.
- DFT: Design For testability is a design technique and
methodology that produces designs for which tests can be generated by known
methods that will result in reduced test generation cost, reduced testing
cost, and high-quality product. This is usually done at a cost of added
- DI: See dielectric isolation.
- DICMOS: Dielectric Isolated Complementary Metal Oxide
Semiconductor. DICMOS ICs have proved to be an excellent solution for
applications requiring very low leakage current or over-voltage protection.
- Dicing: process of cutting semiconductor wafer into
individual chips each containing a complete semiconductor device. Large
diameter wafer dicing is carried out by partially cutting the wafer along
preferred crystallographic planes using high precision saw with ultra-thin
diamond blade. learn more.
- Die: A single square or rectangular piece of
semiconductor material into which a specific electrical circuit has been
fabricated. Plural: dice. Also called a chip.
- Die: a single piece of semiconductor containing entire
integrated circuit which has not yet been packaged; A chip.
- Die: Electronic circuit of the semiconductor device is
arranged on a semiconductor wafer.
- Dielectric: An insulator. Localized regions of
dielectric materials are used in semiconductor devices, for example, to
provide electrical isolation between dice, between metal interconnect
layers, and between the gate electrode and the channel.
- Dielectric isolation (DI): A fabrication technique by
which components in an integrated circuit are electrically isolated from
each other by an insulator (dielectric material).DI surrounds the sides and
bottom of each transistor with a layer of silicon dioxide (glass). DI has
proven particularly advantageous for fabricating high performance analog
ICs. The conventional DI fabrication process for bipolar ICs begins with a
wafer of N-type silicon. The side of the wafer that will eventually be the
bottom is deeply etched (in V-shaped grooves) to form the sidewall pattern,
then silicon dioxide and polycrystalline silicon are grown to fill the
etched moats and to thicken the eventual DI substrate. The opposite side of
the wafer is polished until the insulating sidewalls appear at the wafer
surface. Conventional diffusion and metallization processes follow to
complete the IC. Compare junction isolation and see bonded wafer.
- Diffusion: A high temperature process in which chemical
impurities (dopants) enter and move through the crystalline lattice
structure of a semiconductor material to change its electrical
characteristics. The process takes place in a diffusion furnace, usually at
temperatures between 850oC and 1150oC.
- Diffusion pump: high vacuum pump operating in the
ranges from 10-3 torr to 10-7 torr featuring relatively high pumping speed;
Removes molecules from vacumm by trapping them with oil vapor. Removed from
high-end applications because of the oil vapor backstreaming into the vacuum
system and contaminating the chamber. Pressure 10-5 Torr or better is
refered to as high vacuum (HV). learn more.
- Diffusion: A thermal process in which a chemical species (e.g. a desired dopant or an undesirable contaminant) redistributes itself from regions of higher concentration to regions of lower concentration. Fick's laws describe classical diffusion. Note that diffusion in semiconductors exhibits many anomalies that are not accurately described by these laws.
- Digital: Represented in terms of discrete digits, each
distinct from the next. A method of representing and manipulating
information by switching current on or off. Compare analog.
- Digital integrated circuit: A class of integrated
circuits that process digital information (expressed in binary numbers). The
processing operations are arithmetic (such as addition, subtraction,
multiplication, and division) or logical (in which the circuit senses
certain patterns of input binary information and indicates the presence or
absence of those patterns by appropriate output binary signals).
- Digital signal processing: See DSP.
- Digital Signal Processor: A microprocessor capable of
performing large numbers of multiplications at high speeds for quantization
and other processes used in digitizing image and sound signals. A DSP
typically has a high-speed data bus and a multiplier. Many advanced
microprocessors today serve similar functions, however, making the
conventional definition of DSP less pertinent.
- Diode: A two-terminal semiconductor (rectifying) device
that exhibits a non-linear current-voltage characteristic. The function of a
diode is to allow current in one direction and to block current in the
opposite direction. The terminals of a diode are called the anode and
cathode. There are two kinds of semiconductor diodes: a P-N junction diode,
which forms an electrical barrier at the interface between N- and P-type
semiconductor layers, and a Schottky diode, whose barrier is formed between
metal and semiconductor regions.
- Diode: A diode originally referred to a vacuum tube
with two electrodes, but today it refers to a two-terminal electronic
device, typically made of a semiconductor with a p-n junction. Diodes are
used in many electronic devices as rectifiers. They are also representative
- DIP: Dual In-line Package. The most common type of
integrated-circuit package, which can be either plastic (DIP-Plastic) or
ceramic (CERDIP). Circuit leads or pins extend symmetrically outward and
downward from opposite sides of the rectangular package body. "DIP,
side-brazed" is a dual in-line package with leads brazed externally, on the
sides of the package.
- Direct bandgap semiconductor: semiconductor in which
the bottom of the conduction band and the top of the valence band coincide
with the same value of momentum; the wavelength of any emitted radiation is
determined by the energy gap of the semiconductor; examples include GaAs and
- Discrete: An adjective used to describe types of
semiconductor devices that perform a single function, such as transistors
and diodes as opposed to integrated circuits. It is also used to describe
digital electric signals, because digital signals are sampled and quantized,
meaning that they are not continuous either on the time or amplitude axis.
- Discrete device: A class of electronic components, such
as power MOSFETs, bipolar power transistors, surgectors, MOVs,
optoelectronic devices, rectifiers, power hybrid circuits, intelligent power
discretes, and transistors. Typically, these devices contain one active
element, such as a transistor or diode. However, hybrids, optoelectronic
devices, and intelligent discretes may contain more than one active element.
In contrast, integrated circuits (ICs) typically contain hundreds,
thousands, or even millions of active elements in a single die.
- Distributed Feed Reactor: A type of LPCVD system, which uses a special injector to provide fresh reactant gas to numerous points along the furnace tube. This is done to overcome gas depletion effects.
- DLM: Double-Level Metal. An IC metal interconnect
process that employs two vertical levels of metal, separated by an
insulating layer. DLM technology allows a designer to use a smaller die size
(for a given level of design functionality) than does SLM. Compare SLM.
- DLTS: Deep Level Transient Spectroscopy.
- DLY: Design Limited Yield. See yield.
- Donor: An impurity from column V of the periodic table,
which adds a mobile electron to the conduction band of silicon, thereby
making it more N-type. Commonly used donors are arsenic and phosphorous.
- Dopant: element introduced intentionaly into a
semiconductor to establish either p-type or n-type conductivity; Common
dopants in silicon are: Boron (p-type) and phosphorous, arsenic, and
- Doping: The intentional introduction of a selected
chemical impurity (dopant) into the crystal structure of a semiconductor to
modify its electrical properties. For example, adding boron to silicon makes
the material more P-type. Doping concentrations range from a few parts per
billion (for resistive semiconductor regions) to a fraction of a percent
(for highly conductive regions).
- Doping: The process of introducing small, precisely controlled quantities of specific elements into single crystal semiconductors. The fundamental purpose of doping is to engineer the electrical properties of the semiconductor (e.g. resistively, carrier concentration), as part of the manufacture of solid state devices. Ion implantation is the incumbent process for doping semiconductors, due to the inherent process control capability in this technology.
- Dose (Implant Dose): This is a key ion implantation process control parameter. A measure of the quantity of dopant injected into a wafer by an ion implantation process. Typically stated in units of (ions inferred) per cm2 in exponential notation (e.g. 3.5 x 1015 cm-2). It is controlled through the use of a sub-system called a Faraday, which measures the ion beam current, which is integrated over time to calculate the dose that is delivered during the implantation process.
- Double crystal X-ray diffraction: The use of X-rays to
determine the spacing between atoms in a semiconductor crystal.
- Dosimetry: The technology embedded in an ion implantation machine to control the implantation dose delivered in the implant process. See also: dose and Faraday.
- D-pack: An epoxy power discrete package for power
MOSFETs, IGBTs, and bipolar transistors. The D-pack is available in a
straight leaded version (TO-251) or a surface mountable version (TO-252).
- Drain: One of the three regions that form a
field-effect transistor. Majority carriers that originate at the source and
traverse the channel are collected at the drain to complete the current
path. The flow between source and drain is controlled by the voltage applied
to the gate. See also channel, FET, gate and source.
- 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 (zero or one). The charge must be periodically refreshed.
- DRC: Design Rule Check. DRCs measure spacing, overlap,
and sizes of all masking dimensions on the layout. This is necessary to
ensure that the circuit dimensions will conform to the capabilities of the
- Driver: Typically, an electronic function used to
provide amplification to drive high current loads. Term often used to denote
bus drivers that rapidly charge and discharge capacitance. Also used to
denote the ability to control power, such as when driving a solenoid or
other high-current device.
- Dry etching: Dry etching is an etching method to cut
the film by the force of the mechanical and chemical reaction. It excites
the etching gas (chemical gas) into the plasma and etches the wafer surface
by hit with the accelerated ions in the plasma. It is also able to reduce
contamination and to etch highly accurately.
- DSP: Digital-Signal Processing. Digital circuits
designed to address a broad class of problems in signal reception and
analysis that have traditionally been solved using analog components. DSP is
rapidly replacing analog signal processing functions where requirements for
stability over time and temperature variations are critical. DSP is used to
enhance, analyze, filter, modulate, or otherwise manipulate standard
real-world functions, such as images, sounds, radar pulses, and other such
signals by analyzing and transforming wave-forms (e.g., transmitting data
over phone lines via modem). Intersil offers building blocks and special
function chips for DSP, including fast multipliers, multiplier accumulators,
image processors, histogrammers, and digital filters.
- Dual in-line package: See DIP.
- Dual Inline Package: A type of IC package with a
rectangular housing and two parallel rows of electrical connecting pins,
giving it a centipede-like appearance. It was the most common package type
in the early days of ICs
- DYM: Defect and Yield Management. See yield.
- Dynamic Random Access Memory: A type of semiconductor
memory used in the main storage unit of a computer or as large-capacity
working memory of other electronic devices. It is the most common type of
memory that allows data to be read or written instantly as needed. A DRAM
stores each bit of data in a cell consisting of a pair of a MOS transistor
and a capacitor. When a bit of data is stored, the capacitor in the cell
changes its state to either charged or discharged, representing the value 0
or 1 in the binary numeral system. To prevent the capacitor charge from
fading through data reading and natural leakage, DRAM needs periodical
- E-beam: Electron beam. Refers to a machine that produces a stream of
electrons (electron beam) that can be used to expose photo-resists that are
sensitive to such beams. Can be used to expose resists directly on a wafer
or on a mask. Electron-beam lithography is a direct-write microprinting
- EBHF: Enhanced Back-diffused High-Frequency. A Intersil standard bipolar
process technology that is optimized for very high performance with
semicustom tile arrays and semicustom parametric analog cell capabilities.
It is available with either single- or double-level metal interconnects and
can be used in either plastic or hermetic packages.
- ECL circuit: Emitter-Coupled Logic circuit. ECL circuits use bipolar
transistors biased in the active region. They are a very fast high-power
digital technology commonly used in logic circuits.
- Edge-emitting lasers: Semiconductor devices that have a
region of optical gain that can emit light, or lase, from the edge of the
gain region (as opposed to the suface-emitting, vertical cavity type, called
- EDIF: Electronic Design Interchange Format. A standardized exchange
language for design information.
- EEPROM or E2PROM: Electrically-Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory.
Similar to PROM, but with the capability of selective erasure of information
through special electrical stimulus. Information stored in EEPROM chips is
retained when the power is turned off. Compare PROM.
- Elastic Collision : An atomic collision that does not involve an exchange of energy.
- Electrochemical C-V profiling: A method to determine
the dopant profile in semiconductor devices by measuring the capacitance (C)
of the material as a function of voltage (V).
- Electromigration: Motion of ions of a metal conductor (such as aluminum)
in response to the passage of high current through it. Such motion can lead
to the formation of "voids" in the conductor, which can grow to a size where
the conductor is unable to pass current. Electromigration is aggravated at
high temperature and high current density and therefore is a reliability
"wear-out" process. Electromigration is minimized by limiting current
densities and by adding metal impurities such as copper or titanium to the
- Electron: An elementary atomic particle that carries the smallest
negative electric charge (1.6x10-19 coulombs). Electrons are light in mass,
(1/1837 of the mass of the hydrogen atom), highly mobile, and orbit the
nucleus of an atom.
- Electron beam (e-beam) evaporation: source material is
evaporated as a result of highly localized heating by bombardment with high
energy electrons; the electron beam is spacially confined and accelerated by
electrostatic interactions. The direction and crosssection of the beam can
be precicely controlled and rapidly altered to scan the target; vaporated
material is very pure; bombardment of metal with electrons is accompanied by
generation of low intensity X-rays which may create defects in the oxide
present on the surface of the substrate; typically, an anneal is needed to
eliminate those defects. learn more.
- Electron Beam: An electron beam is a stream of
electrons, which are typically induced thermally from a cathode and flow to
an anode. In electron beam processing, the flow of electrons is accelerated
by electric fields, and as it strikes the target the material is drilled or
welded as appropriate.
- Electronic Design Automation: A computer-assisted
process for automatically designing semiconductors and electronic circuits.
Also refers to dedicated tools (hardware and software) designed to serve
this purpose. EDA covers the entire segments to be designed, including
specifications, functions, logic, circuits, and layout.
- Elemental semiconductor: single element semiconductor
from group IV of the periodic table; Si, Ge, C, Sn.
- Eleven Nines: Eleven nines means 99.999999999%. When
used in reference to a material, it means having a purity of 99.999999999%.
Production of semiconductor devices such as ICs requires materials that are
“eleven nines” pure. Silicon, a representative semiconducting material,
becomes nearly nonconductive at this level of purity.
- EOS: Electrical OverStress is a transient or steady state electrical
condition that exceeds the specifications and/or capabilities of a device.
Both the magnitude and duration of an EOS event can vary. Examples of mild
EOS are oxide ruptures and junction damage with signs of visual stress.
Severe EOS may include massive vaporization of bond wires or aluminum
interconnects and carbonizing of plastic packages. See ESD.
- Epi Layer: The term epitaxial comes from the Greek word
meaning 'arranged upon.' In semiconductor technology, it refers to the
single crystalline structure of the film. The structure comes about when
silicon atoms are deposited on a bare silicon wafer in a CVD reactor. When
the chemical reactants are controlled and the system parameters are set
correctly, the depositing atoms arrive at the wafer surface with sufficient
energy to move around on the surface and orient themselves to the crystal
arrangement of the wafer atoms. Thus an epitaxial film deposited on a
<111>-oriented wafer will take on a <111> orientation.
- Epitaxial Growth: Epitaxial growth, or epitaxy, refers
to the deposition of a crystalline overlayer (epitaxial layer) on a
crystalline substrate. The crystal orientation of the epitaxial layer
depends on the structure of the substrate and seed crystals. Epitaxy is used
for manufacturing Si ingots and for depositing suitable crystal layers on
the wafer surface.
- Epitaxial layer: layer grown in the course of epitaxy;
- Epitaxy: process by which a thin "epitaxial" layer of
single-crystal material is deposited on single-crystal substrate; epitaxial
growth occurs in such way that the crystallographic structure of the
substrate is reproduced in the growing material; also crystalline defects of
the substrate are reproduced in the growing material. Although
crystallographic structure of the substrate is reproduced, doping levels and
the conductivity type of a epitaxial layer is controlled independently of
the substrate; e.g. the epitaxial layer can be made more pure chemically
than the substrate;
- Epitaxy: The growth on a crystalline substrate of a
crystalline layer, called an epilayer, that mimics the orientation of the
- EPMA: Electron Probe MicroAnalysis.
- Emitter: One of the three regions that form a bipolar transistor. Under
forward bias of the emitter-base P-N junction, the emitter injects minority
carriers (electrons or holes) into the base region where they either
recombine or diffuse into the collector. The flow of minority carriers from
the emitter to the collector is controlled by the base-emitter P-N junction,
thereby giving rise to signal amplification. See also base, bipolar
transistor and collector.
- Energy: A key ion implantation process control parameter. It is a measure of the kinetic energy of a charged particle (e.g. a desired dopant being injected into a wafer), that determines the depth of penetration of the particle. Typically stated in terms of keV (thousands of electron volts) or MeV (millions of electron volts). Example: 100keV, which would be the energy of a singly charged particle that had been accelerated by a 100kV potential drop. See also: acceleration.
- Engineering workstation: A desktop computer with application software
for computer-aided engineering (CAE) or computer-aided design (CAD)
applications, e.g., a Sun workstation with Cadence software and the Intersil
FASTRACK design system. See CAD, CAE, and FASTRACK.
- Enhancement-mode FET: An FET designed so that its channel is fully
depleted. It is in the "off" state with zero voltage applied to the gate.
This configuration is attractive for low quiescent power. See also channel,
depletion-mode FET, FET, gate and source.
- Epitaxy: The controlled growth on a crystalline substrate of a
crystalline layer, called an epilayer. In "homo-epitaxy" (e.g., silicon
layers on a silicon substrate) the epilayer exactly duplicates the
properties and crystal structure of the substrate. In "hetero-epitaxy"
(e.g., silicon on sapphire) the deposited epilayer is a different material
with a different crystalline structure than that of the substrate.
- EPROM: Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory. Similar to PROM, but
allows stored information to be erased. Refers to a non-volatile memory
device whose contents can be erased by exposure to ultraviolet light. See
also PROM, EEPROM.
- Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory: A type of
semiconductor memory chip on which data can be written and erased a certain
number of times. An EPROM is basically a read-only memory that can be
reprogrammed. The data can be typically erased by exposing the chip to
intense ultraviolet light through a transparent opening on the package. In
addition to this type of EPROM (referred to as UVEPROM), the Electrically
Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory (EEPROM) was also developed to
provide an electrical erase function. Both types of EPROM were used widely,
but have been replaced by flash memory in recent years.
- ERC: Electrical Rules Check. Software that verifies that a schematic
shows a reasonable connection of circuit elements. Compare DRC.
- Esaki Diode (Tunnel Diode): A type of semiconductor
that uses the quantum tunneling effect. It was invented by Leona (Leo) Esaki
in 1957. When a forward-biased current flows through this diode and the
voltage is gradually increased, negative resistance is produced at a certain
voltage range, meaning the current decreases as the voltage gets higher. In
fact, oscillators and amplifiers equipped with Esaki diodes delivered far
superior performance than those with conventional diodes.
- ESD: ElectroStatic Discharge as its name implies is a static buildup of
electrons that is then discharged. The magnitude of ESD can vary widely, but
the duration of a pulse is usually very short. An ESD event can result in
junction failure, contact damage, filamentation, oxide thermal damage, oxide
breakdown, charge injection and fusing (opening) of interconnects. Today
there are three types of accepted ESD models: the human body model, the
charge device model, and the machine model. The root cause of ESD typically
is improper handling. This can be augmented by low humidity, ungrounded
equipment and poor device design. See EOS.
- Etch: The process of removing material from a wafer (such as oxides or
other thin films) by chemical, electrolytic or plasma (ion bombardment)
means. Examples: nitride etch, oxide etch.
- Etch: To remove, in a controlled manner, selected
material from a wafer by employing chemical, electrolytic, or plasma means.
- Etch Bias: When there is some degree of horizontal etching in a target film during a plasma etch process, the feature transferred by the etching process into the film will be smaller than the feature was in the photoresist mask pattern. If this is not acceptable, the photoresist mask feature may be dimensionally increased (biased) to offset this effect. This is called etch bias. See also: under-cutting.
- Etch system: An etch system shapes the thin film into a
desired patterns using liquid chemicals, reaction gases or ion chemical
reaction. It is used in manufacturing lines for semiconductors and other
- Etching: A process of chemically removing from wafer
surface part of the layers that is not covered by the patterned resist.
There are two types of etching: liquid-based “wet” etching and plasma-based
- Evaporation: common method used to deposit thin film
materials; material to be deposited is heated in vacuum (10-6: 10-7 Torr
range) until it melts and starts evaporating; this vapor condenses on a
cooler substrate inside the evaporation chamber forming very smooth and
uniform thin films; not suitable for high melting point materials; PVD
method of thin film formation. learn more.
- Evaporative Deposition: An older PVD technology that was used to deposit thin metallic films. It featured very high deposition rates, but was largely abandoned because it could not effectively deposit alloy materials.
- Excitation Event: A type II electron-atom impact event that excites an outer valence electron of the atom to a higher energy state, but which lack sufficient energy to ionize the electron. Shortly after the excitation occurs, the excited electron drops down to its original energy state, and in so doing, emits a photon of characteristic energy.
- External, extrinsic gettering: process in which
gettering of contaminants and defects in a semiconductor wafer is
accomplished by stressing its back surface (by inducing damage or depositing
material featuring different than semiconductor thermal expansion
coefficient) and then thermaly treating the wafer; contaminants and/or
defects are relocated toward back surface and away from the front surface
where semiconductor devices can be formed.
- Extraction: The process of forming a properly focussed ion beam from the ions created in the ion source of an implant machine. This is done through the use of a high voltage (intense electric field) region that extracts ions from the ion source, forming an ion beam of appropriate size and shape for use in the ion implantation process. The extraction process inherently accelerates the extracted ions, imparting a large amount of kinetic energy to them. They then may be accelerated (or decelerated) to the final desired implantation energy.
- FA: Failure Analysis.
- Fab: Fabrication. In semiconductor manufacturing, fabrication usually
refers to the front-end process of making devices and integrated circuits in
semiconductor wafers, but does not include the package assembly (back-end)
- Fab: Fabrication. In semiconductor manufacturing,
specifically the front-end process of making devices and integrated circuits
in semiconductor wafers.
- FAE: Field Application Engineer. A term used to describe a Intersil
employee specifically engaged in helping customers apply Intersil products
in various circuits and designs.
- Faraday: An electrically isolated structure in an ion implantation machine whose function is to accurately measure the ion beam current (charge) during the ion implantation process. It is part of the dosimetry system in ion implantation machines, which controls the dose applied to the wafer in an ion implantation process. The dosimetry system integrates the measured ion beam current over time and calculates the dose delivered to the substrate. Named after Michael Faraday, who invented this type of structure. See also: dose and dosimetry.
- FASTRACKTM: Intersil's open-architecture design system, providing
state-of-the-art capabilities for schematic capture, design verification and
place and route functions based on Intersil analog, mixed signal, and
digital process families. Extremely useful for Intersil and its customers to
develop high-performance standard products and custom designs. The analog
bipolar FASTRACK system won EDN Magazine's Product Innovation of the Year
Award in 1990.
- Fault: A defect in an IC that can cause a failure during operation.
Usually caused by processing defects.
- Fault coverage: The percent of all possible internal faults a circuit
can have that are observable from the outside of the IC by a functional test
vector set. Typically refers to those faults modelled by a signal stuck to
power or ground.
- Fault simulation: A logic-gate level simulation technique in which the
circuit description is modified (faulted) to correspond to a processing
defect, and the simulation is re-run to determine whether the test program
would find this defect. After many faults are simulated, this gives an
indication of the quality (fault coverage) of the test program.
- FET: Field Effect Transistor. A solid-state device in which current is
controlled between source and drain terminals by voltage applied to a
non-conducting gate terminal. See also channel, drain, gate and source.
- FET: Field-effect transistor. Transistors, commonly
used for weak-signal amplification, in which the output current is varied by
varying the value of an electric field within a region of the device. A FET
has a region of donor material with two terminals called the "source" and
the "drain," with a region of acceptor material, called the "gate," lying
between. The gate is so called because it can be used to control the flow of
electrons along the channel.
- Fick's Laws: A set of closed form equations that describe classical diffusion. Note that diffusion in semiconductors exhibits many anomalies that are not accurately described by these laws.
- Field Effect Transistor: A transistor that uses an
electric field created by the gate terminal voltage to check the flow of
electrons or holes, thereby controlling the current between the source and
- Field Emission Display: A type of next-generation flat
panel display that uses an array of submicron electron emitters to display
an image on the screen. The operating principle is the same as that of a
cathode ray tube. FEDs can be made flat and large-sized, and are
- Field Programmable Gate Array: A type of
semi-customized IC that is highly integrated, has excellent functionality
and numerous I/Os, and can be easily configured by customers. Because FPGA's
programmability feature significantly shortened the customers' product
development cycle, FPGAs soon captured a large share of the gate array
- Filament evaporation: thermal evaporation; source
material is contacted to the filament (a refractory metal) and melted by
high current flowing through the filament; alternativly, a "boat" which
contains material to be evaporated may be made out of refractory metal;
- Flash Memory: An advanced form of electrically erasable
programmable read-only memory (EEPROM). Flash memory is non-volatile and the
data on the device can be freely rewritten. Flash memory devices are more
convenient to use than UVEPROMs that require ultraviolet light to erase
- Flat pack: A package having leads that are parallel to the component
body. Hermetic flat packs have leads on two or four sides. Plastic flat
packs usually have leads on all four sides (plastic quad flat pack).
Intersil supplies both plastic and hermetic ceramic flat packs to the
military and commercial markets.
- Flip-chip: Bonding of chips with contact pads, face down, by solder bump
- Float-zone Crystal Growth, FZ: method used to form
single crystal semiconductor substrates (alternative to CZ); polycrystalline
material is converted into single-crystal by localy melting the plane where
a single crystal seed is contacting the polycrystalline material; used to
make very pure, high resistance Si wafers; does not allow as large wafers (<
200mm) as CZ does; radial distribution of dopant in FZ wafer is not as
uniform as in CZ wafer.
- Flood Gun: An ion implant machine sub-system provides low energy electrons to the ion beam near the substrate, which reduces the magnitude of the positive charging on the substrate.
- Floorplanning: Floorplanning is used at the chip planning stage to
efficiently partition the space of the chip in order to minimize area. It is
also used in the early stages of layout to investigate tradeoffs in pinout,
block placement and rotation, and routing area construction.
- Forward bias: A voltage applied across a rectifying junction with a
polarity that provides a low-resistance conducting path. By contrast,
reverse bias causes the junction to block normal current. See P-N junction.
- Foundry: A wafer production and processing plant. Usually used to denote
a facility that is available on a contract basis to companies that do not
have wafer fab capability of their own, or that wish to supplement their own
- FOUP (Front Opening Unified Pod): FOUP is a closed-type
wafer carrier (container) for the transport and storage, conforming to the
SEMI Standard E47.1. It has an opening and closing mechanism on the front.
It is commonly used in the semiconductor factory of mini-environment system
of 300mm (12 inch) wafer. The inside of the FOUP keep the cleanliness of the
same degree as the mini-environment system.
- Frit: A term used interchangeably with "glass" as in frit or
glass-sealed packages such as CERDIP and CERPACK.
- Front end: In semiconductor manufacturing, the fabrication process in
which the integrated circuit is formed in and on the wafer. Compare back
- FTIR: Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrophotometry.
- FTY: Final Test Yield. See yieid.
- Fullerene: A term referring to a cluster of uniquely
structured carbon atoms. The first fullerene molecule discovered in 1985
consisted of 60 carbon atoms in a shape of a soccer ball. Among those who
discovered fullerene, Harold Kroto, Richard Smalley, and Robert Curl
received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1996.
- Functional tests: The application of functional input vectors and the
corresponding responses that assure proper operation of a digital IC.
- Furnace Processing: A thermal processing employing standard tube furnaces (vertical or horizontal), which process large batches of wafers (50-100) at one time. It is the incumbent technology for most thermal processing at this time, and typically it has a cost advantage over competing thermal process technologies. However, furnace-based thermal processing inherently heats the wafers from their edges inward during the ramp up to process temperature, which unavoidably induces significant temperature gradients across the wafers (this gradient is reversed during quench, as the wafers cool down by losing heat from their edges). Consequently, greatly limited ramp (and quench) rates are required (~ 50C per minute) when using such tube batch furnaces.
- GaAs: Gallium Arsenide. A III-V compound semiconductor
material used for making optoelectronic devices and high-frequency ICs. GaAs
has a higher electron mobility than silicon, thus having the capability of
producing higher-speed devices. Electrons in GaAs travel at twice the speed
of those of silicon.
- GaAs: Gallium arsenide. A III-V compound semiconductor
material used for making optoelectronic devices and high-frequency ICs. The
charge carriers, mostly electrons, move at high speed among the atoms (twice
the speed of those of silicon), making GaAs components useful for producing
higher-speed devices. Also, GaAs devices generate less noise than most other
types of semiconductor components, important for weak-signal amplification.
- GaAs FET: Gallium Arsenide Field Effect Transistor. A
high-frequency voltage-controlled current amplifier similar to a silicon
MOSFET. Also called GaAs MESFET (gallium arsenide metal semiconductor field
- Gallium Arsenide (GaAs): A representative III-V
semiconductor compound. Electrons move within GaAs crystals 5-6 times faster
than in silicon, which makes the compound a suitable material for
high-frequency, high-speed analog devices. Representative GaAs applications
include GaAs FETs, infrared LEDs, and laser diodes.
- Gallium Arsenide Integrated Circuit (GaAs IC): A type
of IC that uses GaAs as a substrate. When it was introduced, GaAs IC was
considered to be potentially faster than silicon ICs, although the latter
turned out to be the mainstream today. GaAs ICs are often used in mobile
phones and high-frequency communication devices.
- Gallium Nitride-Based Light Emitting Diode: An LED that
uses semiconductor materials containing gallium nitride (GaN) (such as
InGaN) for an epitaxial layer. It uses a sapphire substrate and emits blue
and ultraviolet light at the wavelength of around 450 nm. A GaN LED can
produce white light when overlaid with a fluorescent material or used with
green and red LEDs.
- Gas Depletion Effect: The reduction of gas concentrations as reactant gases are consumed by reactions on the wafer's surfaces. This effect is prevalent in end feed reactors and results in a serious gas concentration gradient across the furnace tube.
- Gate: (1) The control electrode in a field-effect
transistor (FET). A voltage applied to the gate regulates the conducting
properties of the semiconductor channel region, which is usually located
directly beneath the gate. In a MESFET (metal semiconductor field effect
transistor), the gate is in intimate contact with the semiconductor. In a
MOSFET (metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistor), it is separated
from the semiconductor by a thin oxide, typically 100-1000 angstroms thick.
(2) A combination of transistors which form a circuit that performs a logic
function, such as NAND or NOR. See also channel, drain, FET, MESFET, MOSFET
- Gate: The control electrode in a field-effect
transistor (FET). The application of a voltage to the gate varies the
electrical diameter of the semiconductor path or channel, allowing the
regulation of its conducting properties.
- Gate: A transistor component that turns the electric
current flowing through the semiconductor channel on and off. Generally
speaking, the performance of a transistor improves as the gate length
becomes shorter. It was for this reason that the gate length used to be used
as a label of semiconductor technology node.
- Gate array: A semicustom IC consisting of a regular
arrangement of gates that are interconnected through one or more layers of
metal to provide custom functions. Generally, gate arrays are preprocessed
up to the first interconnect level so they can be quickly processed with
final metal to meet a customer's specified function.
- Gate length: Physical distance between source and drain
of a MOS transistor measured on the photomask plate. Also called "patterned"
or "drawn" gate length. When determined from the actual transistor
characteristics, called "effective" gate length. See source and drain.
- Gettering: process which moves contaminants and/or
defects in a semiconductor away from its top surface into its bulk and traps
them there, creating a denuded zone.
- Glow Discharge: A self-sustaining plasma that consists of a partially ionized gas consisting of equal numbers of positive and negative charges as well as some number of neutral particles.
- Graphene: A sheet of carbon consisting of a single
layer of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice. Graphene is the basic
structural element of carbon allotropes including carbon nanotubes and
- Growth process: The process of making device wafers by depositing, or
"growing," layer by layer, on a substrate.
- GTO （gate turn-off thyristor): GTO is a special type of
thyristor that can completely control the switch. GTO can be turned on and
off by the gate signal. Conventional thyristor is not a fully controllable
switch. Thyristor can only be turned on, it cannot be turned off. GTO can be
turned on by the gate signal, and also, it can be turned off by the negative
polarity gate signal.
- Gullwing: A common lead form used to interconnect
surface mounted packages to the printed-circuit board.
- Hardware: The physical components of a circuit or
system, both passive and active.
- Harsh environment: Conditions such as radiation
exposure, temperature extremes, vibration, and dirt encountered by the
military, on factory floors, and under the hoods of automobiles. Addressed
by radiation hardening ICs and other rugged process technologies, an area in
which Intersil is a world leader. See radiation hardened circuit.
- HBC-10: A Intersil BiCMOS mixed-signal wafer process
developed to provide high integration of logic as well as precision analog
capability. It has also been optimized for both A-to-D and D-to-A data
conversion. See BiCMOS, A/D converter, D/A converter.
- HBT: Heterojunction bipolar transistor. A vertical
transistor used for high performance wireless and telecom circuits, such as
circuits for digital cell phone handsets and high-bandwidth fiber-optic
telecommunications systems. See bipolar transistor.
- HDCVD: High Density Chemical Vapor Deposition; a CVD technology that addresses the gap-fill problem that occurs between adjacent metal lines. HDCVD is a plasma-enhanced technology that etches the corners of a CVD film around a metal line, as it is depositing the desired thin film. In this manner the bread loafing effect apparent in other CVD technologies is avoided, and the gaps between metal lines mitigated.
- HEMT: High-electron-mobility transistor. A type of FET
that utilizes a high-mobility layer to enhance performance. HFET:
Heterojunction field-effect transistor. A type of FET with enhanced
performance achieved by employing a
heterojunction between two semiconductors of different bandgap.
- Heterogeneous Reactions: The reactions that occur at the wafer's surface, and are highly desirable for the formation of a particle free thin film.
- High-K Material: A material with a high dielectric
constant (k). High-k materials are used in dielectric films for logic gates
and DRAM capacitors to improve transistor performance and DRAM capacitance.
- High-level language: An application-oriented
programming language, as distinguished from a machine-oriented programming
language. The instruction approach is closer to the needs of the problems to
be solved than it is to the language of the machine on which it is to be
run. Examples are Ada, C, COBOL, FORTRAN, Lisp and Pascal.
- HMDS: Hexamethyldisilizane; improves adhesion of
photoresist to the surface of a wafer; especially designed for adhesion of
photoresist to SiO2; deposited on wafer surface immediately prior to
deposition of resist.
- Hole: A mobile electron vacancy in a semiconductor that
acts like a positive electron charge (+1.6x10-19 coulomb) with a positive
mass. Unoccupied spot among the electrons that are bound in their orbits.
Under the application of an electric field, holes move in the opposite
direction from electrons, thereby producing an electric current. Holes are
induced into an integrated circuit by adding small quantities of an acceptor
dopant to the host silicon crystal. See acceptor.
- Hole: When an electron in a semiconductor is excited
from the valence band into the conduction band or caught by an acceptor, it
leaves in its place a vacancy with a net positive charge. This absence of an
electron is called a hole (or an electron hole). A hole acts like a
positively charged particle.
- Homogeneous Reaction: The reactions that occur in the gas phase and are highly undesirable. Gas phase reactions create low-density thin films that have poor adhesion to the wafer's surface. Such reactions also generate particulate contamination.
- Hot Wall Reactor: A very common kind of LPCVD reactor which features horizontal or vertical tube reactors. The primary advantage of this kind of technology is that it facilitates batch processing, and is therefore is very economical. It also features superior throughput, good uniformity, and can accommodate large wafer diameters.
- HVIC: High-Voltage Integrated Circuit. Utilizes DI
(dielectric isolation) and JI (junction isolation) technologies to provide
circuits that convert high-voltage incoming AC lines (120 and 240 volts, for
example) to regulated DC output. A key point of Intersil's analog strategy
in applying existing process capabilities to new markets, HVICs are
cost-effective monolithic replacements for transformers, rectifiers and
regulators. See DI and JI.
- Hybrid circuit: (1) A combination of passive and active
subminiature devices on an insulating substrate to perform a complete
circuit function. (2) A combination of one or more integrated circuits with
one or more discrete components. (3) The combination of more than one type
of integrated circuit into a single package.
- Hybrid Integrated Circuit: An electronic circuit
consisting of semiconductor devices (such as transistors and diodes) and
passive devices (such as capacitors and resistors) embedded on a single
ceramic substrate. A hybrid circuit can take advantage of the features of
its component devices, while enjoying greater reliability than when the
components are discretely mounted on a printed circuit board. Hybrid
integrated circuits are often used for high-voltage, high-frequency
- IC: Integrated Circuit. Plural: ICs (no apostrophe).
See integrated circuit.
- IC (Integrated Circuit): An electronic device
comprising numerous functional elements such as transistors, resistors,
condensers, etc. on a piece of silicon semiconductor substrate, and is
sealed inside a package with multiple terminals.
- IGBT: Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor. A four-layer
discrete power device that combines the characteristics of a power MOS
transistor and a thyristor. IGBT devices are usually found in high-voltage
circuits (above 300V) because they can be prepared with significantly lower
values of RDS(on) than a power MOSFET with the same die size. Also referred
to as "COMFETs," "GEMFETs" and "IGTs". Intersil is the inventor of the basic
IGBT mechanism, and is a world leader in advanced IGBT technology. See
- IGFET: Insulated Gate Field Effect Transistor. See
- ILM: In-Line Monitor.
- Image processing: The use of computers and
sophisticated mathematical algorithms to analyze, enhance, and interpret
- Immersion Lithography: A lithography technique in which
the space between the optical imaging system and the wafer is filled with a
liquid medium before exposure. Because the refractive index of a liquid
medium is higher than that of air, the technique enhances the numerical
aperture (NA) of the imaging apparatus and increases the resolution.
- Implant Distribution (Dopant Distribution): The characteristic (one-, two-, or three-dimensional) distribution of the dopants introduced from the ion implantation process. It is usually presented as a one- or two-dimensional dopant concentration vs. position plot, using units of atoms (of dopant) per cubic centimeter of silicon (cm-3). This distribution is primarily determined by the species, energy, dose and anneal process (peak temperature, time) used for the implantation process. However, in modern integrated circuits, there are several other implantation process parameters that must also be properly controlled. This is necessary in order to obtain the required precision in amount and location of the desired dopants in the final device structure. Examples are wafer orientation to the ion beam vector, mask edge geometry, residual vacuum pressure, anneal ramp & quench rate, and anneal ambient, depending on the specific implantation process application.
- IMPReSS: Integrated Manufacturing Production Resource
Scheduling System. An Intersil software tool that produces production plans
based upon customer demand forecasts and manufacturing capabilities. The
system was developed by Intersil to integrate forecasting, material
procurement, planning, and order-entry processes as they relate to worldwide
manufacturing requirements. Customer delivery dates are generated
interactively and are based upon a global manufacturing production plan.
- Impurity: In semiconductor technology, a material such
as boron, phosphorus or arsenic added in small quantities to a crystal to
produce an excess of electrons (donor impurity) or holes (acceptor
impurity). Also called "dopant".
- Inelastic Collision: A type I electron-atom impact event that transfers sufficient energy to an outer valence electron to ionize it.
- InGaP: Indium gallium phosphide. Used in HBT device
wafers. A III-V compound semiconductor material used for making
optoelectronic devices and high-frequency ICs. This material is often
employed in very high-speed, reliable HBTs, FETs, and lasers.
integrated circuit (IC): Sometimes called a chip or microchip, an IC is a
small electronic device (consisting of thousands or millions of tiny
resistors, capacitors, and transistors) made from a semiconducting material.
Devices containing integrated circuits have a variety of applications
including microprocessors, audio and video equipment, and automobiles.
low noise amplifier (LNA): Integrated circuits (ICs) used to amplify
lower-power, smaller signals into larger, more easily used signals. LNAs are
designed to contribute very little noise.
- Ingot: circular piece of single-crystal semiconductor
material resulting from a crystal growth process; an ingot is ready to be
shaped and sliced into wafers used to manufacture semiconductor devices.
- Input/output: See I/O.
- Insulator: A material that is a poor conductor of
electricity or heat, and used to separate conductors from one another or to
protect personnel from active electrical devices. Examples: silicon dioxide
(glass), silicon nitride, rubber, ceramics, wood.
- Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor: A type of discrete
semiconductor that combines a three-terminal bipolar transistor with a
MOSFET. With the injection of minority carriers, its dynamic resistance can
be made lower than that of a MOSFET. As a highly voltage-resistant yet
relatively high-speed power transistor, IGBT is increasingly used in
automobiles and air conditioners.
- Integrated Circuit (IC): An electronic circuit in which
many active or passive elements are fabricated and connected together on a
continuous substrate, as opposed to discrete devices, such as transistors,
resistors, capacitors and diodes.
- Integrated Circuit (IC): A set of electronic circuits
densely packed with ultra-small components on a die. There are two types of
ICs: monolithic and hybrid. Monolithic ICs are the most common ICs in use
- Intelligent DiscreteTM: A power MOSFET that contains
more than one active element or that allows non-intrusive current
monitoring. Intersil intelligent discrete devices, for example, provide
current-limiting and thermal-limiting functions to conventional power MOSFET
capabilities. See MOSFET.
- Intelligent Power ICTM: A circuit in which power, logic and analog
functions are integrated on the same semiconductor chip. Intersil has an
extensive library of general-function standard cells that are used to
fabricate such circuits.
- Interconnection: The conductive path required to achieve connection from
one circuit element to others in a circuit.
- Intrinsic gettering: process in which gettering of
contaminants and/or defects in a semiconductor is accomplished (without any
physical interactions with the wafer) by a series of heat treatments.
- I/O: Input/Output. Generally refers to the external connections of an IC
that tie it to the outside world. Supply pins and control pins are usually
not considered I/O.
- Ion: An atom that has either gained or lost electrons, making it a
charged particle (either positive or negative).
- Ion: An ion is a charged particle (atom or molecule). Positive ions, which have been stripped of one or more of their outer shell electrons, are generally employed for ion implantation processes, because they are easier to produce in abundance in an ion source.
- Ion implantation: A means for adding dopants to semiconductor material.
Charged atoms (ions) of elements such as boron, phosphorus or arsenic are
accelerated by an electric field into the semiconductor material. Especially
useful for very shallow (<1µm) distributions of dopants in a semiconductor.
Ion implantation is usually done at room temperature, with the resulting
implantation-induced lattice damage removed by annealing at temperatures of
approximately 700oC. More precise than diffusion doping.
- Ion Implantation: A process in which energetic ions (i.e. charged particles, which may be atoms or molecules) are injected (implanted) into the near surface of a target substrate (typically on the order of ~50nm to ~ 2000nm depth from the surface). This process modifies the materials properties of the surface region of the target. Ion implantation is primarily (commercially) employed to introduce specific impurities in precisely controlled quantities and precisely controlled locations into single crystal silicon substrates, as part of the manufacture of solid state devices and particularly modern integrated circuits. Because of its superior precision in the control of the amount and location of the injected impurities (process control), ion implantation is the incumbent process for doping silicon. See also: doping and ion.
- Ion Source: This important sub-system in ion implantation machines produces positive ions of atoms (or molecules) that contain the desired dopant. It produces these ions through a process called impact ionization, in which energetic electrons collide with the outer electrons of the dopant atoms (or molecules) and knock them out of their bound states. This process strips the dopant atoms of one (or more) electrons, producing ions. Ion implantation most commonly uses positive ions, because they are easier to create in abundance.
- Island Growth: A PVD thin film formation phenomenon which occurs when the incident metal atoms are more closely bonded to each other than to the wafer's surface.
- Isotropic Etching: Etching that is not directional, i.e the vertical and horizontal etch rates of the target film are very similar. This may be desirable if the feature being etched cannot tolerate sharply vertical sidewall angles (e.g. contact or via holes that are to be filled with aluminum). However, isotropic etching cannot create the small, high aspect ratio structures that are required by modern integrated circuits (e.g. gate, tungsten contact and via holes, silicon trenches for STI).
- IYM: Integrated Yield Management. See yield.
- JFET: See junction field effect transistor.
- JI: See junction isolation.
- JIT: Just In Time. Term used in manufacturing to denote
requirement for delivery of products to the customer exactly when
specified--neither too soon nor too late. The objective is to reduce
inventory level (work in process, as well as finished goods). Such inventory
reductions, in turn, lower storage expense and reduce manufacturing cycle
- JTAG: Joint Test Action Group. (1) Test standards group
working on boundary scan and standard test interfaces. (2) Any of the
standards approved by this group. Some Intersil design libraries provide
cells to implement the chip-level standards, and design information is
available for most other libraries.
- Junction: The interface plane within a semiconductor
crystal, at which the number of P- and N-type carriers are exactly equal,
with a surplus of P-type on one side of the junction and N-type on the
- Junction field effect transistor (JFET): A
semiconductor device that operates by altering the conductivity of a region
of the semiconductor (the channel) between two contacts (source and drain)
by application of a voltage to a third terminal (gate). The current flow
between source and drain is controlled by the gate voltage. In a JFET
device, the gate voltage is applied to the channel across a P-N junction, in
contrast to its application across an insulator in a conventional MOSFET.
JFETs are of two types: P-channel and N-channel, depending on whether the
channel is N-type or P-type. See FET, MOSFET.
- Junction isolation (JI): A fabrication technique by
which components in an integrated circuit are separated or electrically
isolated from each other by P-N junctions. Bipolar ICs generally begin with
a P-type wafer into which a buried layer pattern is first diffused. Then the
N-type epitaxial layer is grown, and P-type isolation wells are diffused
around each area that is to be electrically isolated from the other
circuitry. Compare dielectric isolation.
- K, or kilo: Generally a prefix meaning a multiple of
1000 (x103). Symbol: k. In digital systems, a symbol for 210 or 1024 bits.
- Kerf: The width of cut made by a saw or other means
during the process of separating a wafer into individual integrated circuits
or dice. Kerf and 'scribe line' are also used to denote the area between
integrated circuits on a wafer. See die, IC, scribe and break and wafer.
- Kilobit: 1024 bits.
- Kilobyte: 1024 bytes (8192 bits). Symbol: KB. See byte.
- Known-Good-Die: Known-Good-Die (KGD) are bare ICs that
are equivalent to packaged parts in testability and reliability, giving
customers the same assurance that the device has been tested to the same
specifications as its conventionally packaged counterparts. See IC.
- Laser Diode: A diode that emits laser light. When a
forward-biased current passes through the diode’s p-n junction, incoming
electrons are recombined with holes to induce light emission. Indium gallium
arsenide (InGaAs)-based diodes emit light with wavelengths between 1.3-1.55
μm, and are used for optical communications. Gallium nitride (GaN)-based
diodes with wavelengths of 0.4μm, 0.6μm, 0.68μm, 0.78μm are also commonly
- Latch-up: An undesirable phenomenon in which either a PNPN or an NPNP
thyristor-type parasitic structure suddenly turns to an "on" state, thereby
bypassing or shorting out portions of an IC. To prevent latch-up, Intersil
uses either epitaxy layers to avoid diffused pockets or a retrograde P-well,
which is designed to specifically avoid latch-up. See epitaxy
- Layer Growth: A PVD thin film formation phenomenon which occurs when the incident metal atoms are more closely bonded to the wafer's surface than they are to each other.
- LCC: Leadless Chip Carrier. A surface-mounted package having metallized
contacts (terminals) at its periphery. Usually made of ceramic material.
- LDD: Lightly Doped Drain. See doping and drain.
- Leadframe: A stamped or etched metal frame, usually connected to the
bonding pads of a die by wire bonding, that provides external electrical
connections for a packaged electrical device.
- LEC: Liquid Encapsulated Czochralski growth.
- LED: Light-Emitting Diode. A semiconductor P-N junction diode that emits
light under forward-bias conditions. The wavelength of the emitted light is
a function of the semiconductor material. The crystal structure of silicon
does not provide useful levels of light emission, but the structure of GaAs
does, with an infrared emission wavelength.
- Library: The term used to designate the collection of representations
required by the various design tools. These representations, such as symbol,
simulation model, layout abstract, transistor schematic, are used by the
different tools in the design system to create or analyze some portion of
the IC or otherwise aid in the design process. Creating a design library is
effectively inserting the fabrication technologies into the design system in
a form that allows designers to create circuits in the most efficient
- Light Emitting Diode (LED): A semiconductor device that
emits light when an electric current passes through it. An LED efficiently
converts electrical energy into light without heat dissipation, which is a
distinct advantage over a conventional light bulb. Also, LEDs are
semi-permanently durable and can be made very small.
- Light-emitting diode: A light-emitting diode is a kind
of semiconductor device that emits light when an electric current passes
through it. It is also known as an LED. LEDs have a long life compared with
incandescent light bulbs, and emit light using a low voltage of a few volts.
Since there are LEDs in three primary colors: red, green and blue, combining
them can create various colors of light.
- Line defect: dislocation.
- Linear: (1) Having an output that varies in direct proportion to the
input. (2) A ratio in which a change in one of two related quantities is
accompanied by a directly proportional change in the other.
- Linear device: An amplifying-type, analog device with a linear
input/output relation, as opposed to a non-linear, digital device, which is
either completely "on" or completely "off" over large ranges of input
- Linear IC: A type of analog ICs used for amplification,
oscillation, frequency modulation, and/or processing of analog signals.
Specifically, those analog ICs in which the input and output values are
proportional are referred to as linear ICs. Linear ICs are classified into
consumer grade and industrial grade devices.
- Linear integrated circuit: A circuit whose output is an amplified,
linear version of its input or whose output is a predetermined variation of
its input. A class of integrated circuits that process analog information
expressed as voltages or currents.
- Linear regulators: Linear regulators use linear, non-switching
techniques to regulate the voltage output from the power supply. The
regulator’s resistance varies according to the load and results in a
constant output voltage. All linear regulators require an input voltage at
least some minimum amount higher than the desired output voltage. That
minimum amount is called the dropout voltage. A low-dropout or LDO regulator
is a DC linear regulator which can regulate the output voltage even when the
supply voltage is very close to the output voltage. Linear regulators are a
great choice for powering very low powered devices or applications where the
difference between the input voltage and output voltage is small. They are a
simple and cheap solution, but linear regulators are normally inefficient
because the difference between the input voltage and regulated output
voltage is continually dissipated as heat.
- Liquid Crystal Display: Liquid crystals refer to
materials consisting of specific organic molecules that are fluid yet retain
the characteristics of crystals. When a voltage is applied, the orientation
of liquid crystal molecules is aligned to polarize the light. An LCD uses
this effect to control the pixels on the screen. Although liquid crystals
themselves are not light-emitting, the screen image can be illuminated with
- 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 effect the transfer,
the term "photolithography" applies. "Microlithography" refers to the
process as applied to images with features in the micrometer range. See also
aligner, mask, stepper, and X-ray lithography.
- Loading: Loading occurs when the etch rate is dependent on the amount of target etch surface area exposed to the plasma. It typically manifests as a reduction in etch rate as the plasma becomes locally depleted of the etching species where there is a larger area of target film. Loading is characteristic of batch (barrel) etch systems where gas flow dynamics are not well controlled. These effects degrade the throughput and uniformity of batch systems. See also: micro-loading.
- LOCOS: LOCalized Oxidation Of Silicon. See silicon.
- Logic: Mathematical treatment of formal logic in which a system of
symbols is used to represent quantities and relationships. AND, OR and NOT
are examples of symbols of logical functions. Each function can be
translated into a switching circuit, or gate. Since a switch (or gate) has
only two states--open or closed--it makes possible the application of binary
numbers for solution of problems. The basic logic functions obtained from
gate circuits is the foundation of computing machines. Intersil manufactures
a broad line of logic circuits in CMOS technology.
- Logic-level MOSFET: A MOSFET with low operating voltages that can
operate directly from a microprocessor or 5V logic instead of from the 10V
usually supplied by IC buffer stages. Logic-level MOSFETs can eliminate the
need for buffers. See MOSFET.
- Logic optimization: Optimization of logic circuits for either area or
speed using a tool such as the Synopsys Design Compiler.
- Logic synthesis: Synthesis of gate level logic circuits from behavioral
descriptions using a tool such as the Synopsys Design Compiler.
- Low-K Material: A material with a low dielectric
constant (k). Low-k materials are used as insulator films for logic
interconnects. They are effective in reducing the interconnect latency
because low-k films have lower parasitic capacitance than conventional
silicon oxide films.
- LPCVD: Low Pressure Chemical Vapor Deposition. See deposition.
- LPCVD: Low Pressure Chemical Vapor Deposition; a CVD technology that utilizes a reactor chamber that operates at a lower than atmospheric pressure, and is therefore not mass transport limited. The low pressure increases the gas diffusivity by a factor of 1,000X over an APCVD system. Such reactors operate in the reaction rate-limited regime.
- LP-MOCVD: Low-pressure Metal Organic Chemical Vapor
Deposition. LP-MOCVD is a method to deposit or "grow" semiconductor
materials by allowing gaseous sources to react on the surface of a
semiconductor and form another perfect crystal semiconductor on the surface.
- LSI: Large-Scale Integration. Integrated circuits containing between 100
and 5000 gate equivalents, or 1000 to 16,000 bits of memory. Over the years,
integration levels have progressed from SSI (small-scale integration), MSI
(medium-scale integration), and LSI, to today's VLSI (very-large scale
- LVS: Layout Versus Schematic. Compares the electrical design (schematic)
with the physical design (layout) to ensure what will be built is what was
- Machine language: A machine-oriented programming language (as
distinguished from a high-level, application-oriented programming language).
Since the only language microprocessors can understand is binary, all other
programming languages must be translated into binary instruction code before
performing the desired instructions.
- Magnetron: A PVD technology which incorporates a spinning permanent magnet behind the target to confine secondary electrons to a region close to the target. This technique greatly enhances the ionization of Argon atoms and dramatically increases the sputter rate.
- Masking: When making integrated circuits, a process
using photoresist or light-sensitive film applied to a wafer to define the
pattern of the areas to be etched or metallized.
- Mass Transport Limited: APCVD rectors are said to be mass transport limited because the limiting factor in the thin film deposition rate is the ability to transport reactant gas to the surface of the wafer.
- MFR: Manufacturing For Reliability.
- Mask: A transparent (glass or quartz) plate covered with an array of
patterns used in making integrated circuits. Each pattern consists of opaque
and transparent areas that define the size and shape of all circuit and
device elements. The mask is used to expose selected areas of photoresist,
which defines areas to be etched. Masks may use emulsion, chrome, iron
oxide, silicon or other material to produce the opaque areas.
- MCC: Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation. A cooperative
R&D consortium whose mission is to strengthen and sustain the
competitiveness of member companies who share common elements of a technical
vision in information technology. MCC's membership currently includes 22
shareholders and 38 associate members. Research programs include projects in
areas such as software technology, computer-aided design, advanced computing
technology, displays, holographic storage, power sources, superconductivity,
and distributed information systems. Intersil has been a member of MCC since
its founding in 1985.
- MCM: See multi-chip module.
- MCT: MOS Controlled Thyristor. A power device that combines a MOS
transistor as the gate and a thyristor as the power source. This composite
device has the lowest forward voltage drop of any voltage-controlled power
source, including power MOSFETs and IGBTs. Intersil is recognized as the
world leader in MCT technology. See IGBT, power MOSFET and thyristor.
- Mean Free Path: The average distance a particle travels before it interacts with another particle. In a high-pressure PVD systems the mean free path is very low; whereas in a low-pressure system, the mean free path is high.
- Mean free path, MFP: average length traveled by a
charge carrier or particle between two successive collisions; learn more.
- Mega or M: A prefix meaning a multiple of one million (x106). Symbol: M.
- Megabit: Roughly one million bits, or 1,048,576 bits.
- Megabyte: 1024 kilobytes, or 1,048,576 bytes, or 8,388,608 bits. Symbol:
MB. See byte.
- MegaFET: A term used by Intersil to describe our latest generation of
power MOSFETs that provide a cell density of 1.9 million cells per square
inch. MegaFETs are available for voltages as high as 1200V and provide
on-resistance values as low as 10 milliohm.
- Megarad: A dose of radiation equal to 106 Rads. Sometimes stated as
Megarad(Si) or Megarad(SiO2), indicating the equivalent material absorbing
the radiation. See RAD.
- Magnetoresistive Random Access Memory: A random access
memory technology with a memory cell structure that uses magnetoresistive
elements instead of DRAM capacitors. The magnetoresistive element consists
of two magnetic layers (one is pinned and the other is free) separated by a
non-magnetic barrier. The resistivity of the element changes depending on
the spin direction of the free-moving layer. Either numerical value 0 or 1
is assigned to each cell according to its resistivity change status,
enabling data to be stored and read. Because an MRAM stores the data
magnetically, it is non-volatile and requires no electricity to maintain
- Memory: General term for computer hardware that stores information in
electrical or magnetic form. Memories accept and hold binary numbers only.
Memory types are core and semiconductor.
- Memory integrated circuit: An integrated circuit consisting of memory
cells and usually including associated circuits such as those for address
selection and amplification. A class of integrated circuits that store
digital information, the information being expressed in binary numbers.
Examples of memory ICs are ROMs, Dynamic and Static RAMs, EPROMs and
- MEMS: MEMS stands for Micro Electro Mechanical Systems.
MEMS are ultra-compact systems composed of micro-mechanical components such
as sensors, actuators and electronic circuits on a silicon wafer using the
microfabrication technology of the LSI (semiconductor) manufacturing
- MESFET: MEtal-Semiconductor FET. A type of FET in which the channel is
formed directly beneath a metal gate, which itself is in intimate contact
with the semiconductor. Compare with MOSFET, where the gate is separated
from the semiconductor by a thin insulating oxide layer. Commonly used in
III-V materials, such as GaAs, where the gate oxide needed to form a MOSFET
is inferior to that in silicon. See channel, GaAs and gate.
- Metallization: The process of depositing a thin film of conductive metal
onto a substrate and patterning it to form the desired interconnection
arrangement. Metal layers are typically 1-2 micron thick in ICs, but several
times thicker in power devices.
- Metal-oxide varistor: See MOV.
- Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor Field-Effect Transistor: A
type of field-effect transistor (FET) that has the structure of a
metal-oxide semiconductor (MOS). It is the most common transistor type in
LSIs today. A MOSFET consists of a silicon substrate covered with a
dielectric oxide film, on which a patterned conductive metal layer is
deposited. When a voltage is applied to the gate terminal on top of the
metal layer, electric current flows underneath the dielectric film
- Metrology: Metrology generally means a method of
measuring numbers and volumes, mainly by using equipment (ex. CD-SEM).
Metrology, though often considered synonymous with measurement, is a more
comprehensive concept that refers not only to an act of measurement itself
but to measurement performed by factoring in errors and accuracy, as well as
the performance and mechanisms of equipment.
- Micro: A prefix meaning one-millionth (x10-6). Symbol: µ. Also jargon
for microprocessor, microcomputer, microcontroller.
- Micro Electro Mechanical System: The technology that
enables microscopic devices with electro-mechanical systems. MEMS devices
have minuscule moving parts that are built within a chip using semiconductor
processing technologies. The diverse functions enabled by these moving parts
give MEMS wide-ranging applications (e.g., accelerometers, gyroscopes, and
- Micro-Controller Unit: A type of LSI that integrates
four basic elements of a microcomputer (data I/O, data processing, program
memory [ROM], and data memory [RAM] units) on a single chip. In larger
computing systems, the first two elements are combined in microprocessor
units or MPUs, and ROM and RAM are provided as separate devices. MPUs are
typically used for personal computers.
- Micro-loading: Loading occurs when the etch rate is dependent on the amount of target etch surface area exposed to the plasma. It typically manifests as a reduction in etch rate as the plasma becomes locally depleted of the etching species where there is a larger area of target film. Loading is characteristic of batch (barrel) etch systems where gas flow dynamics are not well controlled. However, there are also micro-loading effects in single wafer systems, where the local etch rate on the wafer is dependent on feature size and local pattern density.
- Microcomputer: (1) A computer system whose processing unit is a
microprocessor; (2) A microprocessor, complete with stored program
memory--read-only memory (ROM), random-access memory (RAM), and input/output
(I/O) logic on a single chip. Microcomputers are capable of performing
useful work without additional supporting logic.
- Microcontroller: A single-chip microcomputer with on-board program ROM
and I/O that can be programmed for various control functions.
- Micrometer: One-millionth (x10-6) of a meter, or about 40 millionths of
an inch. Synonymous with micron. Symbol: µm.
- Micron: Older term for micrometer. A metric unit of linear measure which
equals one millionth of a meter. Symbol: µm
- Micron: A metric unit of linear measure that equals one
millionth of a meter. Symbol: μm
- Microprocessor: (1) A central processing unit (CPU) fabricated on one or
more chips, containing the basic arithmetic, logic, and control elements of
a computer that are required for processing data; (2) An integrated circuit
that accepts coded instructions, executes the instructions received, and
delivers signals that describe its internal status. The instructions may be
entered or stored internally. Also called "MPU" (microprocessor unit).
Widely used as control devices for household appliances, business machines,
toys, etc., as well as for microcomputers. Intersil is the industry leader
in 16-bit CMOS microprocessors.
- Mil: One-thousandth of an inch (x10-3 inches). Equal to 25.4 microns.
- Miller indices: combination of three integers (possibly
four), used to define the orientation of crystallographic planes in a
crystal; a set of coordinates defining specific crystallographic planes in
the crystal. learn more.
- Milli: Prefix meaning one-thousandth (x10-3). Symbol: m.
- MIMIC: MIcrowave/millimeter wave Monolithic Integrated Circuit. Directed
by the U.S. Department of Defense, the MIMIC program was established to
enhance producibility and reduce the production cost of gallium arsenide
(GaAs) microwave integrated circuits. In this sense, MIMIC is the GaAs
microwave industry's equivalent of the VHSIC program.
- MIPS: Million Instructions Per Second.
- Mixed signal IC: An integrated circuit that has both digital and analog
functions on the same semiconductor chip, permitting a high degree of system
integration. Intersil mixed signal ICs are of three types: (1) In those
optimized for analog, the major part of the design is analog with a small
digital content; (2) In those optimized for power, the circuit has analog,
digital and power functions; (3) In those optimized for digital, the major
part of the design is digital with some analog content. Intersil recently
introduced a cell library for mixed signal optimized for analog, called
HBC2500. The library is supported by a double-metal, double-poly BiCMOS
process with 3µm CMOS and 300-MHz bipolar transistors.
- Mixed signal simulation: A mixed signal simulator simulates the analog
portions of the circuit with a very accurate circuit simulator, the digital
portions with an efficient event-driven simulator, and the switched
capacitor portions with a special-purpose switched capacitor simulator. An
example is the Verilog cdsSPICE.SCAN simulation in the Intersil FASTRACK
Design System. See FASTRACK.
- ML: See Multilayer TVS.
- MMIC: Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuit. Combining active elements
(diodes and transistors) with passive elements (resistors, capacitors,
inductors and transmission lines) on a single GaAs (gallium arsenide)
substrate, MMICs replace conventional "chip and wire" microwave circuits. As
amplifiers, attenuators or switches at microwave frequencies, MMICs offer benefits of reduced size, lower unit cost, and reliability.
- Mobility: The velocity of a charged particle attained under the action
of an applied electric field. Units are cm2/V-Sec.
- MOCVD: Metal Organic Chemical Vapor Deposition. The
same as LP-MOCVD, but with growth at higher pressures.
- Module generation: The automatic construction of major pieces of circuit
function by specifying parameters controlling the structure and/or
performance of the function. Examples are RAM, ROM, PLA, datapath, state
machine, registers, multiplexers, and standard logic families.
monolithic circuit: Same as integrated circuit. A circuit fabricated within
a single body of semiconductor material. This single body of material is
referred to as an integrated circuit die. Compare hybrid circuit.
- MOS: Metal Oxide Semiconductor. A wafer process for fabricating MOSFET
devices in either IC or discrete form. See MOSFET.
- MOSFET: Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect Transistor. A class of
voltage-driven devices that do not require the large input drive currents of
bipolar devices. MOSFETs are a type of field-effect transistor that operates
and functions similar to a junction field effect transistor. The distinction
is that in the MOS device the controlling gate voltage is applied to the
channel region across an oxide insulating material, rather than across a P-N
junction. The term can be applied either to transistors in an IC or to
discrete power devices. The major advantage of a MOSFET is low power due to
its insulation from source and drain. Other advantages are its process
simplicity, savings in chip real estate, and the ease of interconnection on
chip. MOSFETs are of both P-channel and N-channel types. Sometimes called
"insulated gate field effect transistor" (IGFET). Although Intersil produces
these devices with both metal or polycrystalline silicon as the gate
electrode, the generic MOSFET term is used for both. See channel, drain,
gate and source.
- MOS transistor: Same as MOSFET.
- MOV: Metal-Oxide Varistor. A varistor having a sintered zinc-oxide
element and a symmetrical voltage-current characteristic. Such devices
provide bi-directional transient suppression capability, enabling them to
protect circuits against transient over-voltage occurring from opposite
directions. These devices absorb very large amounts of energy--up to 10k
joules. Intersil MOVs come with many different packaging options that
address a variety of applications, from small circuit boards to lightning
arresters. The majority of Intersil MOVs carry UL approval. All Intersil
MOVs are manufactured in Dundalk, Ireland. See multilayer TVS and surgector.
- MPU: MicroProcessor Unit. Sometimes used synonymously with
microprocessor. See CPU.
- MSI: Medium-Scale Integration. A term generally applied to integrated
circuit chips containing ten or more gate equivalents, but less than 100.
Also applies to memory devices with fewer than 1k (1024) bits of memory. See
LSI, SSI, VLSI.
- MSPS: Million Samples Per Second. Measurement of time used predominately
in referencing data acquisition and DSP.
multi-chip module: A hybrid-type package containing a number of integrated
circuits and other components. Used instead of printed circuit boards for
applications calling for very high packing densities, high frequencies and
high speeds of operation. Intersil, in conjunction with Harris' Electronic
Systems Sector, is engaged in an advanced packaging development activity
toward perfection of the technology.
- MTBF: Mean Time Between Failure; the average time that a system will operate until it experiences a failure that requires it to be taken off-line for maintenance.
- Multi-Chip Module (MCM): An electronic assembly
integrating a number of bare chips, including a CPU and peripheral logic
devices, on a substrate. Because MCMs can be built by putting proven bare
chips together, they take less time to package than SOCs. MCMs are often
used for mobile phones that require high integration levels with very short
development lead times.
- Multilayer TVS: Multilayer Transient Voltage Suppressor. A type of
varistor composed of alternating layers of semiconducting ceramic and
electrode material. This combination forms a "stack" that greatly enhances
the available cross-sectional area and hence the device current handling
- Multiplexer (mux): A device that combines several input signals into a
single output signal in such a manner that each of the input signals
subsequently can be recovered. At Intersil, an IC consisting of multiple
analog CMOS switches and digital decoding, allowing one of many inputs to be
passed to the output.
- Multiplexing: A process of transmitting more than one signal over a
single link, route, or channel. Of the two methods in use, parallel
processing frequency-shares the bandwidth of a channel in the same way
hurdlers run and jump in their assigned lanes, thus permitting a number of
contestants to compete simultaneously on the same track. The second method,
called serial processing, time-shares multiple signals in the same way that
pole vaulters vault over the same bar one after the other. Although serial
processing may not seem simultaneous, the signal speed is so fast that it is
possible to multiplex four different numbers through a single decoder-driver
and have them appear on four different displays without a flicker.
- Multiplier: A circuit whose output state is the arithmetic product of
two input signals. Important in DSP (digital signal processing) technology
for signal processing and power control applications. Intersil offers
high-speed analog and digital multipliers. See DSP and signal processing.
- Mux: MUltipleXer.
- NAND Type Flash Memory: A type of non-volatile memory
medium invented in 1987 by Fujio Masuoka (then a Toshiba employee). Compared
to the NOR type flash memory, NAND flash is smaller in circuit scale, less
costly, and offers larger capacities as well as faster read/write speeds.
NAND flash is widely used for USB drives, memory cards for digital cameras,
and storage devices for mobile phones and digital music players. As
conventional chip scaling technology is reaching its limits, 3D structures
have been introduced in flash memory devices in recent years.
- Nano Imprint: A lithography technology for nanoscale
pattern transference, which is attained by pressing a mold with predefined
nanopatterns onto a substrate coated with a polymer film. The technology is
attracting attention for its low cost and ease of volume manufacturing.
- Nanometer, nm: unit of length commonly used in
semiconductor industry; one billionth of a meter, 10-9 m [nm]; terms such as
microchip and microtechnology are being replaced with nanochip and
- Netlist: An ASCII file containing a description of
schematic design elements and their interconnections. Netlist transfer is
the most common way of moving designs from one design system or tool to
another. The file formats that are used by Intersil are Cadence and EDIF.
- NMOS: Also called "N-Channel MOS" (metal oxide
semiconductor). A type of MOSFET in which electrons are the dominant charge
carrier in the semiconductor channel. The channel is N-type. NMOS devices
run at least twice as fast as PMOS (P-Channel MOS) devices--the oldest type
of MOS circuit-- because the mobility of electrons is higher than that of
holes. Compare PMOS.
- Noise: Unwanted acoustic or electromagnetic
disturbances, as opposed to desired signals.
- Non-volatile memory: Any device that faithfully retains
its stored information after power is removed. Examples: EPROMS, PALS,
bubble memories, rotating magnetic discs, optical memory. See volatile
- NOR Type Flash Memory: A type of non-volatile memory
medium invented in 1984 by Fujio Masuoka (then a Toshiba employee). In 1988,
Intel commercially released the first NOR type flash memory device. Compared
to the NAND type flash memory, NOR flash is faster in read operations and
superior in random accessibility, while its integration level and write
speed are inferior. NOR flash is principally used in microcontrollers and as
a firmware storage chip for devices that require high reliability but do not
support hard disk drives, including routers, printers, digital cameras, GPS
navigation systems, car electronics, and mobile phones.
- NPLY: Non Photo-Non Process Limited Yield.
- NPN transistor: A two-junction transistor with an
N-type collector and emitter and a P-type base. See bipolar transistor and
complementary. Compare PNP transistor.
- NRE: Non-Recurring Engineering. A one-time charge for
photomask development, test and prototype tooling, and associated
- Ns, nsec: Abbreviations for nanosecond (x10-9 second).
One thousandth of a microsecond. Electronic signals travel approximately one
foot per nsec.
- N-type semiconductor: A semiconductor type in which the
density of holes in the valence band is exceeded by the density of electrons
in the conduction band. N-type behavior is induced by the addition of donor
impurities, such as arsenic or phosphorus, to the crystal structure of
silicon. See also acceptor, donor, doping and impurity.
- N-type semiconductor: A semiconductor in which current
is conducted by excess free electrons.
- N-type semiconductor: semiconductor in which the
concentration of electrons is much higher than the concentration of holes
(p>>n); electrons are majority carriers and dominate conductivity.
- N-Type Semiconductor (Negative Semiconductor): In
n-type semiconductors, free electrons move when a voltage is applied,
carrying negative charge to produce an electric current. N-type
semiconductors are created by doping quadrivalent elements (such as silicon
and germanium) with trace amount of pentavalent elements (such as arsenic).
- OED (Oxidation Enhanced Diffusion): An anomalous (enhanced) dopant diffusion in silicon when thermal oxidation is being performed at the surface of the silicon. It is caused by an increase in silicon point defects (silicon interstitials), which are injected into silicon from the surface where oxidation is proceeding.
- Op amp: OPerational AMPlifier. A general purpose
integrated circuit used as a basic building block for implementation of
linear functions. An op amp's gain and response characteristics are
determined by external components. Op amps form the "front end" or sensory
apparatus of thousands of electronics systems, capturing weak signals
emanating from the real world and amplifying them for processing. Intersil
offers the industry's broadest range of op amp ICs, as well as op amp cells
for designing ASIC versions. See power control circuit and signal
- Open architecture: A system whose characteristics
comply with industry standards and can be connected to other systems that
also comply with these standards. Compare closed architecture.
- Operational amplifier: See op amp.
- Optical coupler, optocoupler: A device designed to
transfer electrical signals by utilizing light waves to provide coupling
with electrical isolation between input and output. Sometimes called
- Optical Proximity Correction: A photolithography
enhancement technique for offsetting the optical proximity effect, a
phenomenon in which photomask patterns transferred onto a photoresist under
insufficient resolution develop inaccuracies. OPC offsets those image errors
by adding intricate modifications to the original photomask pattern, so the
projected image on the photoresist accurately reflects the intended circuit
- Optoelectronic: Pertaining to any device that functions
as an electrical-to-optical or optical-to-electrical transducer (i.e., a
device that is responsive to or that emits or modifies light waves), or an
instrument that uses such a device in its operation.
- Optoelectronics: A coinage combining opto- (a prefix
meaning light) and electronics. The word refers to technologies enabling
conversion of electric signals into light and vice versa. Representative
optoelectronic devices include optical fibers and LEDs.
- Optoelectronic device: A device that is responsive to
or that emits or modifies light waves. Examples are LEDs, optical couplers,
laser diodes, and photo detectors.
- Optoisolator: See optical coupler.
- Over-etch: This is the practice of running an etch process longer than would be required for the average thickness of the target film and the average etch rate of the film. The etch process time must be set by the worst case scenario of etch rate variation and target film thickness variations. It may also be employed to account for differences in target film thickness caused substrate topology under the target film. High selectivity in the etch process is required if a large amount of over-etch is employed, in order to avoid problems from photoresist mask erosion (e.g. film feature size reduction) or unacceptable removal of the substrate underlying the target film.
- Over-voltage: A voltage in excess of the normal
operating voltage of a device or circuit. Many Intersil products are
designed to withstand the effects of over-voltage without damage. See ESD
and over-voltage protection.
- Over-voltage protection: Also referred to as "transient
suppression." A term used to describe the built-in capability of an
electrical circuit to dissipate or shunt electrical impulse energy at a
voltage low enough to ensure the survival of circuit components. Many
Intersil ICs, especially Intersil MOVs, are components specifically designed
to dissipate high impulse energy and voltage surges in electronic and
electrical circuits. Some of Intersil' analog multiplexer products (OVP
muxes) offer built-in over-voltage protection.
- Oxygen in silicon: oxygen finds its way into silicon
during the Czochralski (CZ) single-crystal growth process; in moderate
concentration (below 1017 cm3) oxygen improves mechanical properties of a
silicon wafer; excess oxygen acts as a n-type dopant in silicon.
- Package: The protective container or housing for an electronic component
or die, with external terminals to provide electrical access to the
components inside. Packages provide for power and signal distribution, power
dissipation, and physical and chemical protection of the circuits.
- Parametric tests: Tests that measure DC conditions of a chip, such as
maximum current, leakage, and output drive.
- Parasitic extraction: Applies to software that analyzes a layout
database and determines the capacitance (and sometimes resistance) of the
metal interconnections. These values, which are considered parasitic because
they are determined by the placement of the devices rather than as part of
the design schematics, are then used in logic or circuit simulations.
- PARLY: Parameter Limited Yield. See yield.
- PASIC: Power ASIC. A versatile power BiMOS process technology
co-developed by Intersil and IBM for use in the manufacture of semicustom
and ASIC circuits for power applications. This technology can support
voltages in the 60-100V range and currents of 5-10A. Sometimes referred to
as "intelligent power".
- Passivation: A layer of insulating material deposited over a wafer or a
region of a device to stabilize and protect the surface against moisture,
contamination, and mechanical damage. Silicon dioxide or silicon nitride are
often used for IC passivation.
- Passive component: An electrical component without gain or
current-switching capability. Commonly used when referring to resistors,
capacitors and inductors.
- PBX: Private Branch EXchange. A telecommunications switching facility or
service located on the customer's premises. Intersil SLIC circuits are found
in most of the world's PBX systems. See SLIC.
- PC: Personal Computer, usually an IBM PC or compatible. Also an acronym
for Production Control in a manufacturing organization. Can also refer to
Printed Circuit when referencing printed circuit boards (PCBs).
- PDLY or PLY: Photo Defect Limited Yield. See defect, lithography and
- PECVD: Plasma-Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition. CVD with the gases
first passing through a plasma. See CVD.
- PECVD: Plasma Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition; a CVD technology which uses a rf glow discharge to transfer energy to the reactant gases, instead of heat. PECVD reactors feature high deposition rates at low temperatures.
- Performance node: A performance node is a control parameter which has
limited influence on reliability but which does impact the yield,
productivity, or other set of economic indices associated with the product
or technology. See control parameter, critical node, and characterization
- Performance optimization: Very powerful, advanced, multi-dimensional
optimization algorithms are used for optimizing circuit performance using
many different behavior criteria. The result is a Intersil product that
meets all performance specifications with the greatest possible yield.
- PFMEA or FMEA: Potential Failure Mode and Effects Analysis.
- PGA: Pin-Grid Array. A packaging technology for high-pin-count packages.
Name derives from the array of pins at the bottom of the package. The pins
go through holes on a printed circuit board. I/O lead counts as high as 600
can be achieved with PGA packaging designs.
- PG Tape: Pattern-Generation Tape. Computerized instructions used to
- Photocoupler: See optical coupler.
- Photolithography: Lithographic techniques involving light as the pattern
transfer medium. See lithography.
- Photolithography: A process of exposing a photomask
pattern onto a photoresist-coated substrate to transfer the pattern using
ultraviolet or visible light. Either a contact/proximity system or a
projection system is used depending on the preferred exposure method.
- Photolithography: The Lithography, originally, means
lithograph prints. Semiconductor device is made as a structure transferred
onto the wafer a fine pattern by reducing exposure by using
photolithography. Negative film in photo printing is the photomask (reticle:
the original circuit pattern), the wafer with a photoresist (photosensitive
corrosion-resistant resin coating) is corresponds to the printing paper.
Photolithography is the technique for transferring a circuit pattern that is
the drawn semiconductor devices on a photomask, to the photoresist on the
silicon wafer using the exposure tool. It generates a pattern of the exposed
portion and unexposed portions by irradiating light to the wafer through a
photomask with a circuit pattern. It is called Photo-lithography because it
uses a photo (light). In semiconductor manufacturing, it mainly uses the
ultraviolet rays. In the semiconductormanufacturing process, it is one of
the most important technologies because the formation of a fine pattern
depends on it. It is also used in the manufacture of such a printed circuit
board, a liquid crystal display panel and a plasma display panel. For fine
pattern formation, the wavelength of light used for exposure, has been
shorter and shorter.
- Photoluminescence: A method of measuring some critical
semiconductor material characteristics by shining a laser on the material
and measuring the signal that returns.
- Photomask Equipment: A type of semiconductor
manufacturing equipment used to fabricate photomasks by forming a pattern of
integrated circuits on glass plates. Photomasks are similar in function to
negative film. The mainstream mask-making technology has shifted from
optical lens-based tools to electron beam lithography tools.
- Photomask: A photomask is a pattern formed on a flat
plate, and is a master for transferring the different plates using
- Photomask: A plate used in a lithographic exposure
system for transferring a circuit pattern onto a photoresist-coated wafer in
the IC/LSI fabrication process. Typically, a photomask is a plate of fused
quartz on which a circuit pattern is formed using chromium (Cr) or other
- Photoreflectance: One of an extensive set of
characterization techniques used to analyze epitaxial layers.
Photoreflectance (PR) is a method of characterizing semiconductor material
properties by analyzing how light reflects off the material.
- Photoresist: A light-sensitive liquid that is spread as a uniform thin
film on a wafer or substrate. After baking to solidify the liquid, exposure
of specific patterns is performed using a photomask. Material remaining
after development shields regions of the wafer from subsequent etch or
- Photoresist: A light-sensitive resin coating used to
transfer masked circuit patterns on a substrate by means of exposure and
development. The type of photoresist in which the exposed portion is removed
is called a positive photoresist, and one in which the exposed portion
remains is called a negative photoresist.
- Physical Vapor Deposition, PVD: deposition of thin film
occurs through physical transfer of material (e.g. thermal evaporation and
sputtering) from the source to the substrate; the chemical composition of
deposited material is not altered in the process. learn more.
- Pitch: The center-to-center spacing between pads, rows of bumps, pins,
posts, leads, etc., on an IC or circuit board.
- Place and route: The act of placing the physical representations of the
circuit functions, either as macro blocks or as rows of standard cells. The
signal paths are then routed on the interconnect layers. Currently, two
layers of routing are used, with three layers being the next step.
- Planar defect: also known as area defect; basically an
array of dislocations, e.g. grain boundaries, stacking faults.
- Plasma: Plasma is a cloud of protons (ions), neutrons
and electrons. There are solid, liquid and gas state of matter. Plasma is
also one of the states of matter, the fourth state of matter. Plasma is a
group of charged particles that is kept almost electrically neutral as a
whole, into which sufficient energy is provided to free electrons from atoms
or molecules and to allow both species; ions and electrons, to coexist. The
ions with a positive charge and electrons with a negative charge are
distributed equally in an ionized state.
- Plasma Display: A type of flat panel display which,
along with LCD, attracted a lot of attention as the next-generation display
technology when it came out. A plasma display panel has numerous tiny cells
encapsulating neon and other noble gases. When a voltage is applied, the
gases in each cell light up and form images on the screen.
- Plasma Etching: A process for rapid removal of target films or silicon substrate material in unprotected (unmasked) areas of the substrate used in the manufacture of solid state devices and integrated circuits. It is sometimes referred to as dry etching, because it does not employ wet chemistry, as in older etch processes. The chemical etch rate is enhanced in this process by use of a plasma containing the etching species. The plasma produces exited electronic states in the etching species, which increases etch rates. The use of the plasma (which contains various ion species) with wafer bias relative to the plasma also increases the anisotropy (directionality) of the etch process. In this configuration, it is called RIE (Reactive Ion Etching). The ions bombard horizontal surfaces of the target film preferentially (compared to vertical surfaces), thereby increasing the vertical etch rate relative to the horizontal etch rate. The fundamental purpose of this process is to transfer a photolithography pattern in a photoresist mask on the substrate into the film underlying the mask.
- PLCC: Plastic Leaded Chip Carrier. A leaded quad package--a replacement
for the plastic DIP (dual in-line package) in surface-mount applications.
External connections consist of leads around all four sides of the package.
- PMOS: P-channel MOS. A type of MOSFET where the semiconductor channel is
doped P-type. In such a MOSFET, the current between source and drain is
primarily due to the motion of holes. Compare NMOS.
- P-N junction: The basic structure formed by the intimate contact of
P-type and N-type semiconductors. The important characteristic of a P-N
junction is that it will conduct electric current with one polarity of
applied voltage (forward bias) but will not conduct with the opposite
polarity (reverse bias).
- PNP transistor: A semiconductor junction transistor with a P-type
collector and emitter, and an N-type base. In such a device, the current
amplification arises from the injection of holes from the emitter into the
base, and their subsequent collection in the collector. See bipolar
transistor and complementary. Compare NPN transistor.
- Polishing: process applied to either reduce roughness
of the wafer surface or to remove excess material from the surface;
typically polishing is a mechanical-chemical process using a chemically
reactive slurry. learn more.
- Polycrystal: A polycrystal is made up of many minute
single crystals. Each of the single crystals has its own crystal axis
direction. Ceramics and many metals are polycrystals. Solar batteries are
made from polycrystal silicon.
- Polycrystalline material, poly: many (often) small
single-crystal regions are randomly connected to form a solid; size of
regions varies depending on the material and the method of its formation.
heavily doped poly Si is commonly used as a gate contact insilicon MOS and
- Power amplifiers: Integrated circuits (ICs) used to
amplify lower-power, smaller signals into larger, more easily used signals.
Power amplifiers are designed to handle high power levels.
- Power BiMOS: 1 Circuits with the capability of interfacing higher
voltages and current levels than conventional BiMOS circuits. See BiMOS. 2
An advanced Intersil wafer process that combines analog, digital and power
capabilities in a single IC. This Double-Layer-Metal (DLM) process is being
developed in Findlay, Ohio. It features complementary vertical MOS power
output transistors and 16V operation to support commercial and industrial
applications in plastic packages. See DLM.
- Power control circuit: System power supply control functions and output
drive, allowing electronic systems to do actual work for such diverse
applications as motors, video, and computer disk drives. Examples of
Intersil power control ICs are voltage regulators, rectifiers, and high
- Power discrete: See discrete device and intelligent discrete.
- Power MOSFET: A MOSFET circuit capable of handling current ratings of
more than 1 ampere. Intersil power MOSFETs have current-handling
capabilities as high as 100A and voltage-handling capabilities up to 1200V.
- Power transistor: A transistor capable of being used at current ratings
of more than 1 ampere. Intersil bipolar and MOS power transistors have
current handling capabilities up to 100A and voltage handling capabilities
- PQFP: Plastic Quad Flat Pack. A type of plastic package that has leads
on all four sides.
- Pre-Cursor Gas (Reactant Gas): The reactant gas used in a CVD reaction. The precursor gas is transported to the surface where it undergoes a chemical reaction to produce the desired film. For example, TEOS is the reactant gas used to form a CVD oxide.
- Prime Grade: The highest grade of a silicon wafer. SEMI
indicates the bulk, surface, and physical properties required to label
silicon wafers as "Prime Wafers".
- 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
- Printed Circuit Board (PCB): An insulated substrate on
which an electronic circuit pattern is formed. Capacitors and other
electronic components are soldered on the PCB to complete the circuit. Among
its varieties are multi-layered PCBs and flexible PCBs.
- Profilometry: A method for measuring the profile, or
heights, of semiconductor layers by dragging a needle across the surface of
an etched semiconductor.
reflectance difference spectroscopy: Developed in the 1980s, reflectance
difference (anisotropy) spectroscopy provides a surface-sensitive,
non-destructive method of examining the order of molecules adsorbed on the
clean substrate. The surface is probed by a light beam with two orthogonal
polarization components, and the relative difference in complex reflectances
is then measured.
- PROM: Programmable Read-Only Memory. A read-only memory that can be
written to only once. Programmed after manufacture by external equipment.
Typically, PROMs utilize fusible links that may be burned open to set a
specific memory location to a specific logic level. Intersil invented the
PROM, and still markets these devices for military applications.
- PTM time: Product-To-Market time. The time required to develop a new
product, measured from the initiation of a development program to product
- P-type semiconductor: A semiconductor type in which the density of
electrons in the conduction band is exceeded by the density of holes in the
valence band. P-type behavior is induced by the addition of acceptor
impurities, such as boron, to the crystal structure of silicon. See also
acceptor, doping, donor and impurity.
- P-type semiconductor: A semiconductor in which current
is conducted by electron vacancies. photodetectors: Semiconductor devices
that receive light and convert it into electrical signals.
- P-type semiconductor: semiconductor in which the
concentration of holes is much higher than the concentration of electrons
(n>>p); holes are majority carriers and dominate conductivity.
- P-Type Semiconductor (Positive Semiconductor): In
p-type semiconductors, electron holes move when a voltage is applied,
carrying positive charge to produce an electric current. P-type
semiconductors are created by doping quadrivalent semiconductor materials
(such as silicon) with trace amount of trivalent elements (such as boron).
- PVD: Physical Vapor Deposition. A process for depositing a thin film on
a wafer that involves aiming a stream of gas at a target. Secondary emission
releases material from the target which is then deposited on the wafer. This
process is also know as sputtering.
- PWM: Pulse-Width Modulation. A form of analog control in which the
duration of digital pulses is varied analogously with the signal of
- Quasi-Neutral Gas: A ionized gas which contains an equal number of positively charged and negatively charges ions, as well as neutral particles. The gas is electrically neutral as a whole, but the majority of its individual components are charged.
- QFD: Quality Function Deployment. A methodology for
developing products that meet the "voice" or needs of the customer.
- QML: Qualified Manufacturer's List per military
- Quality control: A term denoting the functions or
collection of duties that must be performed in order to carry out a
company's quality objective. In some companies, quality control refers to a
limited function, such as analysis of quality data or inspection of products
before shipment to customers and discard or rework of flawed ones. At
Intersil, quality control (more often called Total Quality Management, or
TQM) refers to a broad set of programs and responsibilities at all levels of
the organization aimed at detecting and preventing errors at every step in
the manufacturing process, from order entry through fabrication, packaging,
shipment and invoicing the customer.
- Quality First initiative: An extensive and long-term
initiative throughout Intersil Corporation with three major objectives: (1)
To increase customer satisfaction; (2) Grow the company by growing new
products; and (3) Make continuous improvements in everything every business
unit of the company does. The Quality First initiative is far more
comprehensive in scope than application to products alone. Embedded in the
initiative are such programs as Just In Time, Quality Involvement, Quality
Audits, Employee Improvement Teams, and Total Quality Systems Reviews. The
ultimate objective is a quantum and fundamental change in the way Intersil
does business, moving away from traditional, vertical management structures
toward cross-functional teams. At the heart of the concept is customer
satisfaction and the notion that end (external) customers are best satisfied
as the result of a chain of satisfied internal customers.
- Quartz: single-crystal SiO2.
- Quench Rate: A measure (in degrees per second or minute) of the rate of the wafer temperature decrease from the desired process temperature at the end of a thermal process.
- R&R: Repeatability and Reproducibility.
- Race condition: The situation arising when inputs to a gate traverse
parallel, but different, circuit paths. Differing path delays can result in
unpredictable signal arrival times at a gate, and uncertain transition time
for the output of the gate.
- Rambus Dynamic Random Access Memory: A type of DRAM
developed by U.S.-based Rambus Incorporated featuring an ultra-fast
interface. The device was originally touted to be the next-generation DRAM
with a 500 MB/s bandwidth, which was five to ten times greater than
conventional DRAMs. However, it failed to become the next industry standard
due to stiff pricing, and was replaced by double data rate synchronous
dynamic random-access memory (DDR SDRAM) devices. Today, Rambus DRAMs have
very limited applications.
- Reclaim Grade: A lower quality wafer that has been used
in manufacturing and then reclaimed (etched or polished) and subsequently
used a second time in manufacturing.
- Rad: Specifies the amount of energy transferred to a material by
ionizing radiation. One rad is equal to the energy of 100 ergs per gram of
material. The material must be specified, because the energy differs with
each material. 1 rad-Si=100 ergs/grams of silicon.
- Rad-hard: RADiation HARDened.
- Rad-hard: tactical: Terminology used to describe products or programs
that must be capable of surviving and operating in medium levels of
radiation, usually total-dose environments. Circuits requiring up to 50k
rads-Si are considered tactical rad hard.
- Radiation hardened circuit: An electronic circuit protected against
damage from radiation for use in space, high altitude flight and nuclear
applications. Special processing techniques are used to make insulators more
- RAM: Random-Access Memory. A memory that may be written to, or read from
any address location in any sequence. Also called a read/write memory.
Random access in the sense of providing access to any storage location in
the memory. Stores digital bits temporarily and can be rapidly changed as
required. RAM constitutes the basic read/write storage element in computers.
See DRAM and SRAM.
- Ramp Rate: A measure (in degrees per second or minute) of the rate of the wafer temperature increase to the desired process temperature at the beginning of a thermal process.
- Random defects: Random defect is a defect due mainly to
small particles generated in the semiconductor process. The random defects
occurrence location will not be able to predict because the frequency of
defects, the defect state and the size varies.
- RDS(on): The resistance between drain and source of a forward-biased
power MOSFET at a specified drain current and gate voltage. Intersil
MegaFETS have on-resistance values as low as 10 milliohms. See also MegaFET,
power MOSFET, and diode.
- Reaction Rate Limited: A CVD process whose thin film growth rate at the wafer's surface is limited only by the ability of the precursor gas to react on the surface. LPCVD systems are reaction rate limited because their low pressure takes them out of the mass transport limited regime, and their reaction rate is limited by the low temperature at which they operate.
- Refractive index, n: important optical characteristic
of a material; defined as a ratio speed of light in free space over speed of
light in the material.
- Resistivity mapping: A method to map the resistance of
a semiconductor across an entire wafer.
- Resistivity (Volume): The resistance that a unit volume
of a material offers to the passage of electricity, the electric current
being perpendicular to two parallel faces. More generally, the volume
resistivity is the ratio of the potential gradient parallel with the current
in the material to the current density.
- Resistor: A resistor is an electronic component that
has the function to suppress the flow of a current. Its unit is the OHM (Ω).
It is mounted on an IC together with transistors and condensers and is used
to suppress the current and divide the voltage.
- Reticle: A photomask used in a stepper. See mask, photolithography and
- Reticle: A reticle is a pattern formed on a flat plate,
and is a master for transferring the different plates using photolithography
technology. A reticle is a photomask used in the exposure tools such as a
- RF operation: Radio frequency (RF) is the mode of
operation where a transistor is rapidly switched off and on
with smaller biases. This rapid switching occurs at a rate consistent with
the radio frequency range/spectrum.
- RHD1: An advanced Intersil wafer process that will support high-speed
256k rad-hard SRAMS. The process features 0.8µm feature size and SIMOX
substrates. This process is expected to extend Intersil's technology lead in
rad-hard CMOS beyond that currently provided by TSOS4. See SRAM, and TSOS4.
- RIE (Reactive Ion Etching): See plasma etching.
- RISC: Reduced Instruction Set Computer (or Chip). A type of processor
architecture that processes programs more quickly than conventional
microprocessors because it uses a smaller, less complex set of instructions.
- ROM: Read-Only Memory. A memory in which the binary information located
at each address is fixed and cannot be changed subsequently. Permanently
stores information repeatedly used, such as tables of data, characters for
electronic displays, etc. In its virgin state, the ROM consists of a mosaic
of undifferentiated cells. One type of ROM is programmed by mask pattern as
part of the last fabrication stage. Another popular type known as PROM, is
programmable in the field with the aid of programmer equipment. Programmed
data stored in ROMs are often called firmware. Compare EPROM.
- Rough, roughing pump: vacuum pump designed to reduce
pressure from atmospheric to militorr range. learn more.
- R(on): on-Resistance. The output resistance of a power switching device
when it is forward biased to the fully "on" or conducting state. Especially
important in high-current switches, where the voltage drop across the power
device must be minimized. In a power MOSFET, R(on) is the same as RDS(on).
- Roots pump: high efficiency roughing pump; used in oil
vapor-free vacuum systems. learn more.
- Roughness: lack of planarity of solid surface at the
atomic level; a parameter that measures lack of planarity; in high quality
Si wafers better than 0.1 nm.
- RTA (Rapid Thermal Annealing): RTP (Rapid Thermal Processing), specifically for the annealing thermal processes (e.g. ion implantation damage annealing, silicide contact annealing). See also: RTP.
- RTP (Rapid Thermal Processing): A technology for thermal processing that allows very high ramp and quench rates for thermal processes. It is a single wafer (serial) process technology that is fundamentally based on keeping the temperature uniform (isothermal) all across the wafer as the it is ramped to the process temperature. By keeping the temperature very uniform (< ~50C variation across the wafer) during ramping, warping and slip line formation in the wafer is avoided. These problems are caused by stresses in the silicon wafer, which are created by differential thermal expansion (large temperature gradients) in different portions of the wafer during thermal processing. Isothermal heating allows ramp rates on the order of 1000C per second in thermal processes, as opposed to about 50C per minute maximum ramp rates in typical batch furnaces. This technology enables much improved process control over thermal processes in which there are undesirable competing reactions with different activation energies than the desired reaction. It also enables significant total thermal budget decreases (compared to tube furnace batch processing) in processes requiring high temperatures, because the high process temperature can be reached and left very quickly (high ramp and quench rates). In such applications (e.g. titanium salicide contact formation, ultra-shallow source-drain implant annealing), single wafer RTP is replacing tube furnace batch processing.
- Rugged, ruggedized: A term associated with MOSFETs or IGBTs that are
designed, manufactured and tested to an avalanche energy specification. Also
refers to electronic systems or devices that have been strengthened or
modified for better resistance to wear, stress and abuse--for example, in
space or under battlefield conditions or conditions of severe weather or
dirt. See radiation hardened circuit.
- SACVD: Selected Area Chemical Vapor Deposition. See deposition.
- SAM: (1) Served Available Market. That segment of the marketplace that
is actually addressed by the human and capital resources of an enterprise.
(2) Statistical Analysis and Modeling Menu. A modeling system within
FASTRACK that allows geometry-dependent analog simulations to model a large
number of possible process variations, thus predicting the range of
behaviors of the chip across wafer runs. See FASTRACK.
- Sample and hold (S/H): A system or IC in which a sample of an analog
input signal is frozen in time and held while it is converted to a digital
representation or otherwise processed. Intersil sample and hold ICs are the
fastest in the industry. Abbreviation: S/H.
- Sapphire: single-crystal Al2O3; can be synthesized and
processed into various shapes; highly resistant chemically; transparent to
- SAR: Successive Approximation Register. An A/D conversion method where
the input voltage is compared to the output of a sequentially programmed D/A
converter. First, the most significant bit (MSB) of the D/A is turned on and
compared to the analog input. If the input is greater than the D/A output,
the MSB is left on; otherwise it is turned off. This process is then
repeated for all other bits in decreasing order until the least significant
bit (LSB) is reached.
- SCAN: Switched Capacitor ANalysis. A simulator available in FASTRACK
that simulates a switched capacitor design. See FASTRACK.
- SCD: Source Control Drawing. A specification for a military
semiconductor device that is specific to a program, a vendor, or a customer.
- Scribe and break: The procedure used to separate a processed wafer into
individual ICs. Narrow channels between individual ICs are mechanically
weakened by scratching with a diamond tip (scribe), sawing with a diamond
blade, or burning with a laser. The wafer is mechanically stressed and
broken apart along the channels (called scribe lines), thereby separating
the individual ICs (dice).
- Scrubber: A filter which removes corrosive and hazardous gases from the exhaust gas flow of a CVD system.
- Secondary Electrons: Secondary electrons are electrons which are dislodges from the target by incident ionized Argon atoms. They play a key role in Magnetron sputtering.
- Secondary Flat: The flat of shortest length appearing
in the circumference of the wafer. The secondary flat has a specific
crystallographic orientation relative to the wafer surface and the primary
flat. learn more.
- Sealing: Joining the package case header or substrate to its cover or
- Seed crystal: single crystal material used in crystal
growing to set a pattern for the growth of material in which this pattern is
- Selectivity: This is a measure of the difference in etch rate of the target film relative to the photoresist mask etch rate or the etch rate of the substrate under the target film. It is typically expressed as the ratio of the target film etch rate to the mask or substrate etch rate. Higher selectivity is always desirable. High selectivity in an etch process will help avoid unwanted etching of materials or structures other than the target film, which may result in unacceptable degradation in the electrical performance of the final circuit structures.
- SEMATECH: SEmiconductor MAnufacturing TECHnology research consortium. A
consortium of 14 American semiconductor manufacturing firms dedicated to
restoring America's manufacturing leadership in semiconductors. Located in
Austin, Texas, half of its annual funding is provided by its member
companies and half by the federal government. Research results are
transferred to member firms and to the government for both commercial and
military applications. Intersil was a charter member of SEMATECH.
- Semiconductor: A class of materials, such as silicon and germanium,
whose electrical properties lie between those of conductors (such as copper
and aluminum) and insulators (such as glass and rubber). A material that
exhibits relatively high resistance in a pure state and much lower
resistance when it contains small amounts of certain impurities. The term is
also used to denote electronic devices made from semiconductor materials.
- Semiconductor: A material, usually a solid chemical
element or compound, that is neither a good conductor of electricity (like
copper) nor a good insulator (like rubber). The conductance varies depending
on the current or voltage applied to a control electrode, or on the
intensity of irradiation by infrared, visible, or ultraviolet light, or X
rays. Common semiconductors include silicon, germanium, gallium arsenide,
indium antimonide, and the oxides of most metals. Of these, gallium arsenide
(GaAs) is widely used in low-noise, high-gain, weak-signal amplifying
- Semiconductor: solid-state material in which (unlike in
metals and insulators) (1) large changes in electrical conductivity can be
effected by adding very small amounts of impurity elements known as dopants,
(2) electrical conductivity can be controlled by both negatively charged
electrons and positively charged holes and (3) electrical conductivity is
sensitive to temperature, illumination, and magnetic field; these properties
result from the fact that the valence and conduction bands in semiconductors
are separated by a energy gap that rarely exceeds about 3.5 eV.
Semiconductors are found in the IVth group of the periodic table: diamond
(C), silicon (Si), germanium (Ge) and tin (Sn); numerous compound
semiconductors can be formed by combining elements from groups II-VI; also,
some organic materials display semiconductor properties.
- Semiconductor: A material that has a small band gap
(the energy difference between the top of the valence band and the bottom of
the conduction band) of around 0.7-6 eV. The material becomes conductive
when it receives energy exceeding the band gap, but otherwise it is
- Semiconductor manufacturing equipment: Semiconductor
manufacturing equipment is the equipment used to manufacture semiconductor
devices (integrated circuits). There is a variety of semiconductor
manufacturing equipment: vacuum deposition equipment for forming a thin film
on a wafer, exposure tool for transferring patterns onto a wafer using the
photolithography technique, etch system for forming a thin film into
circuit, ion implanter for adding impurities into semiconductor, metrology
and inspection equipment, assembly equipment, etc. Among the semiconductor
manufacturing process, especially at the wafer processing process, small
particles such as dust are the cause of the product failure. Therefore
manufacturing equipment is placed in a clean room and used in a clean state.
- Semiconductor metrology equipment: Metrology equipment
is the equipment for measuring the various dimensions of the semiconductor
circuit patterns on a wafer. CD-SEM: measure the width or diameter of the
elements and patterns, ellipsometer : measure film thickness of thin film,
Overlay tool for measuring a displacement of the upper circuit pattern from
the lower circuit pattern.
- Semiconductors, III-V: III-V semiconductors are
fabricated using elements from 3rd and 5th group of periodic table; e.g.
GaAs, GaP, GaN, GaAlAs.
- Shadowing (Mask Edge Shadowing): Wafers are carefully oriented to the ion beam in order to avoid channeling effects. In certain applications, this wafer orientation can cause implant feature registration errors with respect to the implant mask edges. This effect is called shadowing. It is a concern in application where the registration of the implant feature edge must closely register to the mask edge (e.g. source/drain implantation at the gate edge). See also: channeling.
- SiC Wafer: A wafer made of SiC, a compound
semiconductor material consisting of silicon (Si) and carbon (C). The
material’s field strength for electrical breakdown is 10 times that of Si,
and its band gap is three times wider. As SiC is also suitable for
controlling a wide range of p- and n-type devices, it is attracting
attention as a power device material that can be used in high-temperature,
high-radiation environments. Because SiC has higher thermal conductivity
than Si, it is also used to make semiconductor wafers.
- Signal processing: A broad class of electronic functions that enhance
the representations of physical or electrical phenomena. Temperature,
pressure, vibration, acceleration and flow are examples of physical
properties that rely on signal processing enhancements. The detection and
conversion of RF, X-ray or ultrasonic energy into images and sound is
another form of signal processing. See analog signal processing and digital
- Silicon: A solid element that is abundantly available in the form of
SiO2 (glass). It is element 14 in the periodic table, with an atomic weight
of 28.09. Silicon has a diamond crystal lattice, a density of 2.328 g/cm3
and a melting point of 1415oC. Its extreme abundance, moderate processing
temperatures, and the stability of its native oxide (SiO2) have made it the
electronic semiconductor material of choice for nearly four decades. It
supports about $50 billion in IC and discrete sales annually.
- Silicon Cycle: In the past when the consumption volume
of semiconductors was dictated by supply and demand of computers, the
semiconductor industry experienced periodic economic swings that repeated
themselves roughly every four years—which is the rule of thumb known as the
silicon cycle. The yearly growth of the semiconductor industry has in fact
shown a cycle of peak and trough every three to four years until recently,
but the pattern was broken as smartphones with short upgrade cycles became
the sales driver in the increasingly diverse electronics market.
- Silicon dioxide, SiO2: silica; native oxide of silicon;
the most common insulator in semiconductor device technology; high quality
films are obtained by thermal oxidation of silicon; thermal SiO2 forms
smooth, low-defect interface with Si; can be also readily deposited by CVD;
Key parameters: energy gap Eg ~ 8eV; dielectric strength 5-15 x 106 V/cm;
dielectric constant k = 3.9; density 2.3 g/cm3; refractive index n =1.46;
melting point ~ 1700 oC; prone to contamination with alkali ions and
sensitive to high energy radiation (i.e. X-rays); single crystal SiO2 is
known as quartz.
- Silicon Interposer: Unlike a resin-based interposer,
silicon interposer’s thermal expansion coefficient remains stable in a
flip-chip mounting, which translates into beneficial electrical properties
and excellent performance at high speeds and high frequencies, enabling more
intricate wiring and bump formation.
- Silicon Nitride, Si3N4: dielectric material with energy
gap = 5 eV and density ~3.0 g/cm3; excellent mask against oxidation of Si
and KOH; properties depend on deposition method: dielectric strength ~107
V/cm, dielectric constant k ~6-7, bulk resistivity 1015-1017 ohm-cm;
deposited by CDV.
- Silicon On Insulator Wafer: A layered
silicon-insulator-silicon wafer. Because it contains a layer of electrical
insulator, the wafer is suitable for manufacturing high voltage-resistant
devices. The transistor leakage can be curtailed by making the channel layer
thinner, which could lower power consumption.
- Silicon Valley: A nickname for the southwestern portion
of the San Francisco Bay Area in the U.S. where a large number of
semiconductor chip manufacturers are concentrated. The name derives from the
fact that monocrystalline silicon is the principal semiconductor material.
- Silicon Wafer: A principal material for manufacturing
semiconductors. Silicon wafers are made by melting silicon into a
99.999999999% pure cylindrical ingot and slicing it into discs of less than
1 mm in thickness. A grid of intricate circuit patterns is formed on the
wafer surface, and then cut into separate semiconductor chips. Silicon
crystals prepared using the Czochralski method and high pulling rates are
grown under vacancy rich conditions, resulting in agglomeration of vacancies
and formation of Crystal Originated Particles.
- Silicon-on-insulator: See RHD1, Verilog, and VHDL
- SIMOX: Separation by Implantation of Oxygen; oxygen
ions are implanted into Si substrate and form a buried oxide layer. SIMOX is
a common technique when building SOI wafers.
- Single-crystal: crystalline solid in which atoms are
arranged following specific pattern throughout the entire piece of material;
in general, single crystal material features superior electronic and
photonic properties as compared to polyscrystalline and amorphous materials,
but is more difficult to fabricate; all high-end semiconductor electronic
and photonic materials are fabricated using single-crystal substrates.
- Single crystal: In a single crystal, the direction of
the crystal axis is the same in every section of the crystal. Single
crystalsilicon is indispensable for semiconductor manufacturing.
- Single Electron Transistor: Unlike a conventional
transistor that functions with an electrical current consisting of a flow of
about 10,000 to 100,000 electrons, a single electron transistor uses a
phenomenon called Coulomb blockade and can operate with a flow of only one
electron. Once single electron transistors are successfully applied to ICs,
they would significantly reduce the power consumption and heat generation
levels associated with conventional ICs.
- Single in-line package: See PBX.
- Single wafer process: only one wafer is processed at
the time; tools that are designed specifically for single-wafer processing
become more common as wafer diameter increases.
- SLIC: Subscriber Line Interface Circuit
- Slice: (verb) To cut into wafers. In semiconductor technology, to cut a
crystalline ingot into thin pieces (wafers or slices) upon which the device
patterns are subsequently formed. (noun) Another term for wafer. Also, a
type of chip architecture that permits the cascading or stacking of devices
to increase word bit size.
- SLICE: Simulation Language with Integrated Circuit Emphasis. For the
design of the analog portions of mixed signal circuits, the FASTRACK
simulation environment consists of a BASIC-like language called SLICE with
powerful expression scanning coupled with standard language constructs such
as looping, conditionals and arrays, and the ability to call simulators from
within the language. With the language, Intersil has built subsystems for
statistical analysis, macro-model development, and optimization. Over the
years, engineers have written many routines for setting up simulation
structures for a particular performance assessment and many routines for
analyzing the outputs of one or multiple simulations. There are probably
greater than 100 engineering-years invested in the development of SLICE and
- Slice orientation: the angle between the surface of a
slice and the growth plane of the crystal. The most common slice
orientations are (100), (111) and (110). learn more.
- Slicing: term refers to the process of cutting of the
single-crystal ingot into wafers; high precision diamond blades are used.
- Slip Lines: Large (visible to the eye) silicon crystal defects (dislocations) formed when the silicon crystal plastically deforms to relieve stress caused by differential thermal expansion (large temperature gradients) in different portions of the wafer during thermal processing.
- SLM: Single-Level Metal. The use of only one level of metal to form the
contact interconnections in an IC. Compare DLM.
- Slurry: a liquid containing suspended abrasive
component; used for lapping, polishing and grinding of solid surfaces; can
be chemically active; key element of CMP processes.
- Smart cut: process used to fabricate bonded SOI
substrates by cleaving the top wafer close to the desired thickness of the
active layer; before bonding one wafer is implanted with hydrogen to a depth
that will determine the thickness of an active layer in the future SOI
wafer; following bonding, the wafer is annealed (at ~500 oC) at which time
the wafer splits along the plane stressed with implanted hydrogen. The
result is a very thin layer of Si forming a SOI substrate.
- Smart discrete: See intelligent discrete.
- SMD: (1) Standard Military Drawing. A military specification developed
by the Defense Electronic Supply Center (DESC) for a semiconductor device.
The specification applies to all manufacturers of the device. Compare SCD.
(2) Surface Mount Device. See dielectric and die.
- SOI: Silicon-On-Insulator. A composite structure consisting of an active
layer of silicon deposited on an insulating material. The insulator can be
sapphire (as in SOS), silicon dioxide, silicon nitride, or even an
insulating form of silicon itself. The ICs subsequently deposited in the
active silicon layer can have advantages of radiation hardness, speed, and
high-temperature operation. Intersil is developing SOI technology for a
process called RHD1, which is being used for radiation-hardened 256K SRAMS.
- SOI: Silicon-On-Insulator; silicon substrate of choice
in future generation CMOS ICs; basically a silicon wafer with a thin layer
of oxide (SiO2) buried in it; devices are built into a layer of silicon on
top of the buried oxide and are thus electricaly isolated from the
substrate; SOI substrates provide superior isolation between adjacent
devices in an IC; SOI devices have reduced parasitic capacitances.
- SOIC: Small Outline Integrated Circuit. A miniature plastic flat pack
designed for surface mount with gull-wing leads. Most versions have lead
spacing of 0.05 inches. See channel, drain, FET and gate.
- SOS: Silicon-On-Sapphire; special case of SOI where an
active Si layer is formed on top of a saphire substrate (an insulator) by
means of epitaxial deposition; due to a slight lattice mismatch between Si
and sapphire, Si epitaxial layers larger than the critical thickness have a
high defect density;
- Source: One of three terminals that make up a field-effect transistor
(FET). The source is the point where current enters the channel. See
channel, drain, FET and gate.
- SPC: Statistical Process Control. A technique to ensure that a
manufacturing process is controlled to the limits of its capability. With
SPC, each time a process is monitored its behavior is compared against
limits that have been established by statistical data on the same process.
Intersil has been one of the industry leaders in applying SPC, and is
committed to its use over the full range of manufacturing processes.
- Species: A specific charged particle that was implanted in an ion implantation process. Note that the species is the specific charged particle that was accelerated and injected into the wafer, not necessarily the dopant element that was activated in the silicon. Specifying the species means specifying all of the following information: 1) the chemical element or compound used, 2) the charge state of the ion used, and 3) the specific isotopes (in AMU Atomic Mass Units) used in the implantation process. For example, consider these two different ion species: 1) 11B+ which is the chemical element boron, isotope 11 AMU, singly charged, and 2) 49BF2+ which is the chemical compound (molecule) boron difluoride, boron isotope 11 AMU and two fluorine isotopes 19 AMU each, singly charged. Although either of these two different ion species may be used for an implant, they will both result (after post-implant annealing) in the same element (boron) being activated in the silicon (producing a p-type carrier, i.e. a hole in the valence band of the semiconductor silicon).
- Specifications, military (for packaging): The most commonly used
military specs for hybrid circuit packaging are MIL-M-38510C, for general
microelectronics, and MIL-STD-883A, for test methods.
- SPICE: Simulation Program with Integrated Circuit Emphasis. Simulator
used to model electrical circuits at the transistor level. This popular
simulator was developed by UC Berkeley, and has been customized and enhanced
by many companies, including Intersil. See PVD.
- Spintronics: The study in engineering concerning the
use of electric charge of an electron and its intrinsic spin. The word is a
coinage combining “spin” and “electronics.” A representative achievement in
this field of study is the discovery of the giant magnetoresistive effect in
1988, which came to be applied to magnetic heads of hard disc drives.
- Sputter Yield: The number of sputtered target atoms per incident Argon atom.
- Sputtering: Ion beams unavoidably cause sputtering of any surface they strike. Sputtering is a process in which some of the energy of the ion in the ion beam causes the ejection of atoms from the target surface. The characteristic energies of sputtered particles is low, typical in the range of a few eV to perhaps ~100eV. Sputtering is the primary mechanism for metal and elemental contamination in ion implantation processes.
- Sputtering: A process for depositing a thin film on the
surface of a substrate. Also known as physical vapor deposition (PVD). The
substrate to be covered by a film is placed in a vacuum together with the
source material (target). When the target is hit by highly accelerated argon
molecules, electrons, etc., the target molecules are ejected and deposited
on the substrate, either directly or after chemically reacting with other
gaseous materials introduced in the reactor.
- Sputtering, sputter deposition: bombardment of a solid
(target) by high energy chemically inert ions (e.g. Ar+); causes ejection of
atoms from the target which are then re-deposited on the surface of a
substrate purposely located in the vicinity of the target; common method of
Physical Vapor Deposition of metals and oxides. learn more.
- Sputtering target: source material during sputter
deposition processes; typically a disc inside the vacuum chamber which is
exposed to bombarding ions, knocking source atoms loose and onto samples.
- Sputter yield: efficiency of the sputtering process
(differs for different materials). learn more.
- SRAM: Static Random Access Memory. A read/write memory in which the data
are latched and retained. SRAMs do not lose their contents as long as power
is on. This memory does not need to be refreshed as does DRAM. Compare DRAM.
- SRC: Semiconductor Research Corporation. The SRC is a consortium of more
than 60 member companies and government agencies planning and executing
programs of applied research at leading U.S. universities to strengthen the
competitive ability of the U.S. semiconductor industry. Formed by the
Semiconductor Industry Association in 1982, the SRC today is the largest
industry-driven research program in the nation. Harris Semiconductor (now
Intersil) has been an active member and supporter of the SRC since 1983.
- SSI: Small-Scale Integration. Integrated circuits containing fewer than
ten logic gates. See also MSI, LSI, VLSI.
- Stabistor: A switching diode designed for low voltage stabilizing
applications. See diode.
- Standard cell: Predefined circuit elements that may be selected and
arranged to create a custom or semicustom integrated circuit more easily
than through original (custom) design. Intersil's comprehensive standard
cell libraries provide the building blocks from which designers create ASICs
(application specific integrated circuits). See FASTRACK and logic.
- Standard Cell: A type of semi-custom LSI that combines
and interconnects pre-designed and standardized functional cells to enable a
system on a chip. Each functional cell is optimally designed so the chip’s
footprint is used more efficiently than in a gate array.
- Static: A state in which a quantity exhibits no appreciable change over
- Static RAM: See memory.
- Stepper: Steppers are used in the lithography process to manufacture
ICs. Silicon wafers are imprinted with individual circuit components when
light passes through the stepper and a mask. See lithography, mask, and
- Stepper: A device for optically shrinking and
transferring circuit patterns from a photomask (reticle) via lenses onto the
wafer set on a stage. Light sources used for exposure include visible light
(g-line), ultraviolet light (i-line), excimer laser (KrF, ArF, etc.) and so
- Sticking Coefficient: The ratio of the average number of gas particles sticking to the surface to the average number gas particles incident on the surface.
- Stringers: These are an artifact of insufficient over-etch time in anisotropic etch processes. They are pockets of the target film left at the end of the etch process, typically along the edge of steps in the substrate topology (they look like strings of the target film material). These are unacceptable in polysilicon gate etch and metal etch applications. However, they are the intended etch structure in the anisotropic etch process employed to form the gate sidewall spacer (a key part of the final MOS transistor structure.
- Structured ASIC: A type of ASIC introduced as an answer
to continued chip scaling and shorter product cycles. A structured ASIC uses
a number of fixed layers to reduce the cost of mask and mask development as
well as to speed up development.
- Substrate: The underlying material on which a microelectronic device is
built. Such material may be electrically active, such as silicon, or
passive, such as alumina ceramic.
- Substrate: The underlying material on which other
layers are deposited. Such material may be electrically active, such as
gallium arsenide or silicon, or passive, such as alumina ceramic.
- Superconductivity: The flow of electric current with negligible
resistance in certain metals and alloys and over certain temperature ranges.
In recent years, superconductivity has been achieved at temperatures as
"high" as -140oC.
- Surface damage: process related disruption of the
crystallographic order at the surface of single-crystal semiconductor
substrates; typically caused by surface interactions with high energy ions
during dry etching and ionimplantation.
- Surface roughness: disruption of the planarity of the
semiconductor surface; measured as a difference between highest and deepest
surface features; can be as low as 0.06 nm or high quality Si wafers with
- Surgector: Solid-state devices formed by combining a thyristor and a
Zener diode. It is designed to protect circuitry and equipment from damage
due to transient surges, such as contact with power lines, lightning
strikes, induced voltages due to magnetic or electric fields, and static
discharges. Protection is provided by diverting the surge current through a
low-impedance path around the vulnerable components. Ideal for data
communication and telecommunication applications, but cannot be used in DC
circuits where available current exceeds holding current. Harris surgectors
are designed and produced in Mountaintop, Penn. Compare MOV.
- Switch: As pertaining to semiconductors, an analog IC (typically CMOS)
which, on command, either passes or blocks an electrical signal. Intersil is
the leading worldwide supplier of DI (dielectric isolation) and JI (junction
isolation) analog switches. See DI and JI.
- Switched capacitor: A technique commonly used in analog signal
processing to create filtering and signal conditioning circuits.
- Switching regulators: Switching regulators rapidly switches a series
element on and off. They can operate with both synchronous and
non-synchronous switches (FETs). These devices store the input energy
temporarily and then releasing that energy to the output at a different
voltage level. The switch’s duty cycle sets the amount of charge transferred
to the load. Switching regulators are efficient because the series element
is either fully conducting or switched off so it dissipates almost no power.
Switching regulators are able to generate output voltages that are higher
than the input voltage or of opposite polarity, unlike linear regulators.
The versatility of these converters allow configuration for buck, boost,
buck-boost, flyback, inverting in isolated and non-isolated applications.
Integrated FET regulators are a subset of switching regulators. These
microcircuits have integrated the power MOSFET and are considered a whole
solution; whereas controllers employ external power MOSFETs. Both
configurations are classified as switching regulators because they regulate
the output voltage.
- Symbolic layout and compaction: An advanced way of producing custom
quality layouts with reduced manual intervention. The symbols of transistors
and interconnects are placed either automatically or manually. From there
the compaction algorithms replace the symbolic representation with the
correctly sized physical transistors and interconnects and compacts the
layout to the limit of the algorithms and ground rules.
- System: An integrated whole that is comprised of diverse interacting,
specialized structures and sub-functions. A collection of people, machines
(hardware) and software organized to accomplish a set of specific functions.
- System In Package: A module that encloses a number of
ICs and passive components (memory chips, ASICs, controllers, etc.) to
function as an electronic system. SiP has an advantage over SoC (system on a
chip) in terms of lead time and production cost.
- System-level integration: (1) In semiconductor design and fabrication,
packing more and more devices into an IC or designing multi-chip modules
that are more and more complex. (2) In electronics in general, the
progressive linking and testing of system components into a complete system.
See multi-chip module.
- System LSI: Large-scale integration (LSI) is a type of
IC. It is the integration of a large number of devices (transistors). The
main memory of a computer is an example of this. System LSI is a super
multifunction LSI combined with single function LSIs according to the usage.
It is installed inside computers and electronic devices with specific
applications, such as audio devices. It makes wiring simple and helps to
downsize the devices because it occupies a small area.
- Systematic defects: A systematic defect occurs mainly
due to the interaction of the layout and semiconductor processing. The
defect is likely to occur in combination with a particular layout pattern
and a particular process. According to the circuit pattern, the mask and the
exposure process conditions, the occurring position is determined. The
defects may be occurring at the same position of the circuit patterns of all
of the dies that has been transferred. The wafer defect inspection system
detects defects by comparing the image of the circuit patterns of the
adjacent dies. As a result, systematic defects sometimes cannot be detected
using a conventional wafer defect inspection system. In such cases, it may
be used a method to detect a defect by comparing the design pattern.
- TAB: Tape Automated Bonding. A process utilizing metal conductors on
beam tape that are mass bonded to the integrated circuit in a single
operation. TAB offers the advantage of allowing a circuit to be tested at
high frequencies and proving it in good condition without the expensive
alternative of mounting it in a module for testing, thus avoiding the need
to rework modules. Intersil has capability in this technology as well as
ongoing development work toward advancement of TAB as an enabling technology
for multi-chip modules. See multi-chip module.
- TAM: Total Available Market. Used to show actual dollars spent in a
- Tape Automated Bonding: An automated process for
electrically attaching LSI chip’s connectors to a substrate using a tape
(i.e., film carrier). Packaging of LSIs using TAB is called tape carrier
- Target: source material used during evaporation or
deposition; In sputtering, typically in the form of high purity disc. In
e-Beam evaporation, typically in the form of a crucible. In thermal
evaporation, the source material is typically held in a boat which is heated
resistively. learn more.
- Target Erosion: The tendency of PVD targets to selectively erode in those regions where the magnetic field is most parallel to the target. Such regions are the most effective in confining secondary electrons, and thus, experience maximum sputtering and therefore maximum target wear.
- TED (Transient
Enhanced Diffusion): An anomalous dopant diffusion that occurs during annealing after ion implantation. The diffusivity (diffusion rate) of the dopant is observed to be higher than expected at the beginning of the anneal (enhanced diffusion), which effect decays as the anneal proceeds to longer times (i.e., the enhancement is transient). The cause of this effect is the presence of very high (non-equilibrium) concentrations of silicon interstitials, which come from the damage caused by the ion implantation process itself. These high concentrations decay rapidly during annealing at high temperatures.
- Telecom: Telephone communications. See SLICs.
- Tensile Film: A CVD film that is under tensile stress after it has been deposited, such as LPCVD Silicon Nitride.
- TEOS: TetraEthylOrthoSilicate, a liquid source oxide deposition with
excellent uniformity, step coverage and film properties. Disadvantage is
high temperature and liquid source requirements. See deposition.
- Testability: A descriptor of a general area of circuit design that deals
with how testable a particular circuit design is going to be. Specific
implementations of structures and test methods that make circuits more
testable and provide higher level fault coverage provide better testability.
See design for testability (DFT).
- Test Grade: A virgin silicon wafer of lower quality
than Prime, and used primarily for testing processes. SEMI indicates the
bulk, surface, and physical properties required to label silicon wafers as
- Test patterns: A sequential listing of the test vectors making up most
of a TDL file.
- Thermal Oxidation (or Oxidation): A thermal process that produces silicon dioxide (SiO2) by a thermally controlled reaction between silicon and an appropriate oxygen bearing chemical species (typically O2 or H2O).
- Thermal oxidation, thermal oxide: growth of oxide on
the substrate through oxidation of the surface at elevated temperature;
thermal oxidation of silicon results in a very high quality oxide, SiO2;
most other semiconductors do not form device quality thermal oxide, hence,
"thermal oxidation" is almost synonymous with "thermal oxidation of
silicon". learn more.
- Thermal Process: A desired chemical reaction or a physical transformation with an activation energy (energy barrier) that is overcome by applying thermal energy (temperature). Such processes are typically described by the Arrhenius law, which means that their reaction rate is exponentially dependent on temperature. The process control parameters available in thermal processing are peak temperature, time, ramp rate, quench rate, and ambient.
- Thin Film: A film with a thickness of several thousand
angstroms (1 angstrom = 1/100,000,000 cm) or less. Resistors and capacitors
are made by depositing a thin film of metal or a dielectric material on a
ceramic or glass substrate, using processes such as chemical vapor
deposition and sputtering.
- Thin Film Transistor: A transistor based on a thin film
of amorphous and/or multi-crystalline silicon. It is typically used in
liquid crystal displays (LCDs). TFT LCD, which uses active matrix thin film
transistors, is the mainstream technology for LCDs.
- Thin Small Outline Package: A type of thin IC package
made of plastic, typically used for a memory (DRAM) module. It is a kind of
small outline package (SOP) characterized by two parallel rows of electrical
connecting pins, except that TSOP has to be 1.27 mm or less in height when
mounted on the substrate, with a resin component of 1 mm in thickness.
- Thyristor: A four-layered solid-state device with two to four leads made
up and alternate N and P-type layers. Thyristors act as switches to conduct
after a current trigger and while they are forward biased.
- Thyristor: A semiconductor device with four layers of
alternating p and n-type material to perform the switching operation. It has
three terminals with a gate terminal (lead) to the third p-layer of the
layers. It can be interpreted as a combination of pnp and npn transistors.
By passing a gate current (trigger current) from the gate terminal (control
lead) to the cathode terminal of thyristor, it switches from the OFF state
between the anode and cathode terminals to the ON state (conducting). When
the reverse voltage is applied to a thyristor, the current of the rectifier
hardly flows. Further, when applying a forward voltage to a thyristor, it
turns from the OFF state to the ON state at a certain voltage, and then the
forward current flows at low voltage. The switching voltage to an on-state
would be changed by the trigger current flowing through the control
terminal. As the trigger current is increased more, the switching voltage
will be lower. Once having resulted in conducting, such conducting state is
maintained even when the trigger current is off. It cannot be powered off by
the control terminal. There are characteristics such as small, long life,
being able to control a large power with a small control power, the
switching speed is high, and the structure is simple. Thyristor is also
referred to as a SCR (Silicon Controlled Rectifier). When applied
alternating current, the thyristor acts as rectifier supplying a current to
each half-wave, and can change the amount of current by controlling the
phase. This allows stepless control of the rotation speed of the AC motor,
such as fans and washing machines.
- Tile array: Primarily used in analog ASIC design styles, a tile array is
a pre-established layout of electrical devices which can be configured to
create a number of different (although related) electrical functions by
means of programming the levels of interconnecting material. Since the cost
of producing the underlying devices is spread over all designs using a
particular tile array, a customer may create very cost-effective solutions
to analog design requirements using a high performance Intersil
dielectrically isolated process (DI). With tile arrays, customer-specific
programming requires only two or three masks rather than 12 or 15.
- Tinning: To coat metallic surfaces with a thin layer of solder.
- TIR: Testing In Reliability.
- TLM: Triple-Level Metal. An IC metal interconnect process that employs
three vertical levels of metal, separated by insulating layers. Such a dense
configuration requires that each metal interconnect layer be made planar
before the subsequent layer is deposited. See DLM and SLM.
- Total dose: Term used to describe the total exposure of an IC to
ionizing radiation, typically gamma rays, energetic electrons, or X-rays.
Most commercial ICs are very sensitive to ionizing radiation and degrade in
their performance upon exposure. Intersil is the number-one supplier of
rad-hard circuits, with total dose capabilities ranging from several
kilorads to more than a megarad.
- Total Thickness Variation: The maximum variation in the
wafer thickness. Total Thickness Variation is generally determined by
measuring the wafer in 5 locations of a cross pattern (not too close to the
wafer edge) and calculating the maximum measured difference in thickness.
- TQM: Total Quality Management. See Quality First initiative.
- Transfer molding: The process of forming articles, in a closed mold,
from a thermo-setting material that is conveyed under pressure, in a hot,
plastic state. All of Intersil's plastic ICs and discrete devices are
- Transient over-voltage: A condition in electrical circuits resulting
from a sudden release of energy. Often this condition is precipitated by a
static discharge, lightning, or switching of an inductive load. May occur in
repeated fashion or randomly. See over-voltage.
- Transient radiation: A pulse of ionizing radiation. Transient radiation
can cause data upset, device latchup, and destruction of unprotected ICs.
Properly designed ICs however, can resist such effects to high levels of
- Transient suppression: See over-voltage protection.
- Transistor: A three-terminal active semiconductor device that provides
current amplification. A bipolar transistor is comprised of base, emitter
and collector and is a current-controlled device with a low input impedance.
A field-effect transistor has gate, source, and drain electrodes and is a
high-impedance, voltage controlled device. The first transistor was invented
at Bell Laboratories in 1947 by Nobel-Prize physicists John Bardeen, William
Shockley and Walter Bratain. See base, bipolar transistor, collector, drain,
emitter, field-effect transistor, gate, MOSFET and source.
- Transistor: A three-terminal device composed of
semiconductor material that amplifies a signal or opens or closes a circuit.
Transistors are the basic elements in integrated circuits, which consist of
very large numbers of transistors interconnected with circuitry and
contained within a single "chip."
- Transistor: A small and lightweight three-terminal
semiconductor device, often used in electronic circuits of oscillators and
amplifiers. It was invented in 1948 by William Shockley, who received the
Nobel Prize in Physics for this achievement in 1956 along with two others.
ICs and LSIs are devices in which large numbers of transistors are
integrated. There are a few theories about the etymology of the word
“transistor,” one of which argues that it is an abbreviated combination of
“trans-“ (as in transfer) and “resistor.”
- Transistor: The transistor, developed by Bell
Laboratories of the USA in 1947, is a semiconductor device possessing an
amplification function. It is made from germanium crystal or silicon crystal
and is installed in various electronics as an alternative electron device to
vacuum cube. When it is formed on a wafer together with resistors and other
devices, it becomes an integrated circuit that possesses various functions.
- Trenching: This is the result of localized removal of substrate material in an anisotropic etch process, specifically at the base of the etched film feature. It appears as a localized trench in the substrate around the base of the desired feature.
- TSOS4: An advanced Intersil wafer process used to prepare rad-hard 64k
SOS SRAMs. It features 1.25µm feature size and double-level metal, and is
prepared in Intersil's facility at Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.
See rad-hard and SRAM.
- TTL: Transistor-Transistor Logic. A bipolar technology used for
producing logic gates. Positioned in the evolution of logic families after
RTL (resistor transistor logic), DTL (diode transistor logic) and before ECL
and CMOS. See gate.
- Tunnel Effect (also called Tunneling or Quantum Tunneling):
A phenomenon at the quantum scale in which a particle tunnels through a
barrier that should be insurmountable in terms of classical physics. This
quantum effect, also known as tunneling or quantum tunneling, can be
explained by the uncertainty principle.
- Tunnel Magneto-Resistance (TMR) Effect: A
magneto-resistance effect that occurs in a magnetic tunnel junction (MTJ).
When a voltage is applied to the junction, electrons tunnel through the
insulator and change the electrical resistance of the junction. The effect
is being applied to the MRAM device, and is also expected to radically
enhance the storage density of hard disk drives, as the memory cells using
the TMR effect will be far smaller than those that depend on electromagnetic
- TVS: Transient Voltage Suppressor. A general category of devices that
protect other electronic circuits, components or systems from destructive
transient voltage spikes. The Harris family of TVS types include MOVs, Zener
diodes, and surgectors.
- UHF: Ultra High Frequency. (1) A bonded-wafer process
technology used in Melbourne, Fla. for fabrication of enhanced bipolar
products, particularly linear and high-frequency operational amplifiers and
other linear products. (2) Also, the portion of the radio spectrum between
300 and 3000 megahertz (MHz). This includes television channels 14 through
83, as well as most radar use.
- Ultra-Pure Water: Water that has been purified to
attain extremely low levels of conductivity, particles, bacteria, total
organic carbon (TOC), etc. In LSI manufacturing processes, ultra-pure water
is used to cleanse wafers. As the semiconductor integration level rises, so
does the required level of water purity.
- Ultra-Thin Substrate: An interposer that substitutes a
lead frame to carry a chip. Chips for mobile phones and thin digital signal
controllers (DSCs) require a low profile package consisting of a very thin
chip combined with a substrate of less than 100μm in core thickness.
- Ultra-Thin Wafer: Chip size packages (CSPs) and
multi-chip packages (MCPs) found in advanced digital appliances are made
possible by ultra-thin wafers of less than 100 μm in thickness. Development
of 50μm-thick wafers is ongoing, but the issue of their delicate handling
still needs to be addressed.
- Under-cutting: When there is some degree of horizontal etching in a target film during a plasma etch process, the feature transferred by the etch process into the film will be smaller than the feature was in the photoresist mask pattern. The horizontal dimensional loss of the film feature relative to the edge of the feature in the photoresist film is called under-cutting. See also: etch bias.
- Unix: An operating system developed at AT&T Bell Labs
by Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie, and further extended at the University
of California, Berkeley, by a number of students, including Bill Joy, one of
the founders of Sun Computers. The key feature of Unix is that while all
versions of Unix are not the same, it is an open architecture and not
proprietary to any hardware vendor. This means that application programs are
more easily ported between different versions of Unix than between any other
proprietary operating systems. See open architecture.
- UV Lithography: A photolithography process used in
semiconductor fabrication that uses ultraviolet (UV) light as the source.
The process typically uses a light source producing the spectral line at 436
nm (g-line) or at an even shorter wavelength of 365 nm (i-line).
- Valence band: the lower energy band in a semiconductor
that is completely filled with electrons at 0 K; electrons cannot conduct in
- Van der Pauw-Hall: A method used to measure the doping
level and "mobility," or ease for an electron or hole to move about a
semiconductor material. This mobility is used to gauge the quality of the
- Varistor: From "variable-resistor". A non-linear,
voltage-dependent device whose electrical behavior provides transient
suppression performance. The device absorbs the potentially destructive
energy of incoming transient pulses, thereby protecting vulnerable circuit
components. Harris varistors are made from zinc oxide in the Dundalk,
Ireland manufacturing facility. See MOV.
- VCSEL (pronounced "vixel"): Vertical cavity surface
emitting laser. A type of laser that emits light vertically and is often
used in fiber-optic communication systems.
- Verilog: A Cadence Design Systems logic simulator used
in the Intersil FASTRACK design system. See FASTRACK.
- VHDL: VHSIC Hardware Description Language. Originally
developed as a language for describing the design of an IC under the VHSIC
(Very High Speed Integrated Circuit) program, this language, sponsored by
the U.S. Department of Defense, is the military-mandated language for
describing hardware functionality as well as a commercially viable standard
for high-level descriptions of ICs. VHDL is important to Intersil because it
is required by military contracts, and because it is increasingly desired by
commercial customers who use it to model systems composed of one or more
parts from several vendors. VHDL will probably be the lasting standard among
hardware description languages (HDLs). See LSI, MSI and SSI.
- VLSI: Very Large Scale Integration is the process of
combining thousands of transistors to create an integrated circuit.
- Volatile memory: A memory device that does not retain
stored information when power is interrupted. See non-volatile memory.
- Voltage: Electromotive force (EMF). One volt is equal
to the EMF required to force one ampere of current through one ohm of
resistance. Symbol: V.
- Voltage regulator: A circuit (either an IC or a portion
of an IC) whose purpose is to make the output voltage less variable than the
input voltage. As an example, a voltage regulator might provide an output of
5 volts ±2% to a logic board from an input of 5 volts ±50%.
- Volume defect: voids and/or local regions featuring
different phase (e.g. precipitates or amorphous phase) in crystalline
- Wafer: A thin slice, typically 10-30 mils thick, sawed
from a cylindrical ingot (boule) of bulk semiconductor material (usually
silicon), four to eight inches in diameter. Arrays of ICs or discrete
devices are fabricated in the wafers during the manufacturing process. See
Czochralski, IC, mil, silicon.
- Wafer: A thin semiconductor material (approximately
1/30" thick) used as the foundation for integrated circuit manufacture.
- Wafer: thin (thickness depends on wafer diameter, but
is typically less than 1 mm), circular slice of single-crystal semiconductor
material cut from the ingot of single crystal semiconductor; used in
manufacturing of semiconductor devices and integrated circuits; wafer
diameter may range from 25 mm to 300 mm;
- Wafer: A thin and circular slice of semiconductor
material used for manufacturing ICs. Wafers are typically 0.6-0.8 mm in
thickness, and the diameter can be as large as 450 mm, although the most
common wafer diameter seen in mass production is 300 mm, followed by 200 mm.
A large number of semiconductor devices are formed on a wafer, which are
then cut into IC chips using a machine called dicer or scriber.
- Wafer: A wafer is a physical unit used for
manufacturing semiconductor devices. In general, it is made by slicing a
silicon ingot (a cylindrical mass) into disk-shaped pieces of about 0.5mm to
1mm thick. Usually, silicon wafers with a 5-inch (125mm) diameter, 8-inch
(200mm) diameter and 12-inch (300mm) diameter are used. There is an effort
in the industry to switch to 450mkm wafers.
- Wafer Bias: This is a potential difference between the wafer and the plasma (typically on the order of 10-1000 Volts). It is the source of the energy for directional (vertical) ion bombardment of the wafer, which increases the anisotropy of plasma etch processes. However, higher voltages can produce unacceptable damage in the substrate.
- Wafer bonding: process in which two semiconductor
wafers are bonded to form a single substrate; commonly applied to form SOI
substrates; bonding of wafers of different materials, e.g. GaAs on Si, or
SiC on Si; is more dificult than bonding of similar materials. learn more.
- Wafer diameter: The linear distance across the surface
of a circular slice which contains the slice center and excludes any flats
or other peripheral fiduciary areas. Standard silicon wafer diameters are:
25.4mm (1"), 50.4mm (2"), 76.2mm (3"), 100mm, 125mm, 150mm, 200mm, 300mm.
- Wafer fabrication: process in which single crystal
semiconductor ingot is fabricated and transformed by cutting, grinding,
polishing, and cleaning into a circular wafer with desired diameter and
- Wafer flat: flat area on the perimeter of the wafer;
location and number of wafer flats contains information on crystal
orientation of the wafer and the dopant type (n-type or p-type). learn more.
- Wafer Level Chip Size Package: A type of chip size
package (CSP) that uses an advanced technology to encase an IC device in
resin while it is still part of the wafer. Because WLCSP’s package size is
virtually the same as a bare chip and finer bump pitch can be easily
achieved, it is widely used for mobile phone IC chips.
- Warping: A very undesirable mechanical deformation of the silicon wafer that seriously compromises wafer flatness, which at least degrades lithography capabilities. It is caused by stresses in the silicon wafer, which are created by differential thermal expansion (large temperature gradients) in different portions of the wafer during thermal processing.
- Warp: Deviation from a plane of a slice or wafer
centerline containing both concave and convex regions.
- WAT: Wafer Acceptance Test. See mil.
- Wire bonding: Process used to make connections between
a semiconductor and packaging.
- Wire Bonding: A process of connecting an IC chip
contact pad with lead frame connectors by means of metal wire. Typically,
gold wire with a diameter of 30 microns is used for this purpose in a fully
- WLR: Wafer Level Reliability. See wafer.
- X-ray lithography: The lithographic process for
transferring patterns to a silicon wafer in which the electromagnetic
radiation used is X-ray, rather than visible radiation. The shorter
wavelength for X-rays (10-50 angstroms, versus 2000-3000 angstroms for
ultra-violet radiation) minimizes diffraction, and extends the useful range
of lithography towards 0.1µm. Optical lithography is currently thought to be
limited to feature sizes above 0.25-0.3µm. See lithography and angstrom.
- X windows: Commercial operating software that overlays
the operating system of computers and allows workstation users to manage
multiple processes with a graphical interface. Window managers, such as
Motif and OpenLook, provide the specific user interface to X.
- YEA: Yield Enhancement Analysis. See yield.
- Yield: The percent of wafers, dice, or packaged units
conforming to specifications. The most common yields in the manufacturing
process are: wafer fab yield (percentage of the wafers that complete wafer
processing); wafer probe yield (the fraction of dice on a wafer that meet
device specifications); assembly yield (percent of units that are assembled
correctly); and final test yield (percent of packaged units that pass all
- Zener diode: A semiconductor P-N junction diode that
has a controlled reverse-bias breakdown voltage, and is used to supply
(clamp) a specific voltage for other protected components (for example in an
IC). The Zener effect describes a tunnel breakdown phenomenon that is
restricted to less than 5V. However, Zener diodes are traditionally used to
describe any reverse-bias P-N junction device used to supply a specific
voltage, even those of several hundred volts.
- Zinc blend lattice: crystal structure which belongs to
the cubic-crystal family; most ot the III-V compound semiconductors have a
zincblend lattice. learn more.
- Zinc Oxide-Based Light Emitting Diode: An LED that uses
zinc oxide (ZnO) for an epitaxial layer. It emits blue and ultraviolet light
just as a GaN LED does. ZnO LEDs have several advantages over GaN LEDs: they
cost less to produce, can use a lower wavelength range to broaden the choice
of fluorescent materials, and emit light at higher temperatures.
A Simplified Explanation of
FinFET Structure and Function
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