IQE’s Strained Silicon Breakthrough is UltraSmooth

IQE plc in the UK has announced a breakthrough in strained silicon technology
that promises more rapid deployment within the Silicon Industry. IQE is calling
the resulting line "UltraSmooth Strained Silicon" and Initial device
results using the process have demonstrated a significant enhancement in speed
for both nMOS and pMOS devices at sub 100nm technology nodes. According to IQE,
the results indicate that the smoother surfaces provided by their UltraSmooth
process lead directly to better pMOS performance. IQE’s pending patented
approach concentrates on a simple, cost effective, single-stage epitaxial process
to produce very low dislocation levels with and the UltraSmooth relates
to the resulting silicon surface finish, with both p-type and n-type devices
being achieved for strained silicon with buffer layers of germanium concentrations
as low as 17%. According to Drew Nelson, IQE’s CEO, “We are very
encouraged by these excellent initial device results from one of our key development
partners, who is a well recognized leading global IC manufacturer. The results
are beyond our initial expectations in terms of significant improvements in
performance for both nMOS and pMOS mobility, a key development in this exciting
new technology. We will continue to work closely with our key partners worldwide
to bring this technology to market at the earliest possible opportunity, and
the results obtained here represent a key milestone in achieving that goal
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