The creators of the first, room-filling computer, 1,800 square feet to be exact, surely never predicted how far—and small—technology would come. Computing and memory infrastructure that used to take up immense amounts of space is now scaled into microscopic chips, which are integrated circuits made of semiconductors. Semiconductors help enable society to live digitally and are a fundamental component of smartphones, TVs, autonomous vehicles, and many other electronic devices.
Leading companies in the technology world, such as 3M, are creating new products and solutions that help to push the realm of possibility within the semiconductor industry.
For decades, 3M has provided innovative solutions for the semiconductor manufacturing industry. These contributions have built 3M’s reputation as an innovator in the field.
“The industry expects us to lead in innovation with our products and solutions,” said Fitih Cinnor, Ph. D, MBA, 3M Global Product Manager, Semiconductor Chemical Mechanical Planarization Materials. “A foundation of strength at 3M and in the Semiconductor segment is technology driven by innovation.”
3M’s use of over 50 technology platforms – including adhesives, abrasives, nanotechnology, microreplication, surface modification, thin film and plasma processing, thermal management and many others – allows the company to work with customers across the globe to address problems and build custom solutions together.
“Our team can help identify materials for current processes, or work to formulate a solution that will help customers usher in a new era of efficient and effective manufacturing,” said Cinnor.
In an industry as advanced and ever-changing as semiconductors, 3M needs to constantly evolve and innovate its existing products. However, the manufacturing process technology node of semiconductors takes place over a span of 18 months to two years, meaning 3M designers must move at a fast pace and be able to predict what customers will want and need multiple years into the future.
“It’s not enough to develop a product that worked two years ago,” said Cinnor. Advanced process technology nodes require sustained innovation to address new technical, yield, and cost challenges within a short period of time. “The need for rapid innovation is such that, for our customers, it has been described as building the plane as it’s racing down the runaway for takeoff.”
Cinnor also references Moore’s Law – the observation that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit (IC) doubles about every two years – as a process driver. Moore’s Law is referenced heavily in the semiconductor industry to guide long-term planning and to set targets for research and development. To support the industry, 3M must constantly iterate and innovate at an accelerated rate to deliver enhanced performance and more value to customers.
However, Moore’s Law scaling has slowed in recent years, forcing manufacturers to find new ways to drive value using novel materials, 3D device architectures, and complex process integration schemes. As they tackle these challenges, the semiconductor industry continues to power the computing and information technology revolution delivering the digital era with enhanced connectivity and productivity.
3M’s piece in the puzzle
3M’s place in the semiconductor manufacturing segment is well established, offering chemical mechanical planarization (CMP) solutions, tape and reel solutions for component packaging, materials for advanced packaging operations, heat transfer and cleaning fluids, thin wafer handling materials, high purity fluid handling solutions, materials for sealing and gasket protection, and boron enriched isotope dopants for semiconductor producers.
“The exciting thing about this industry is the speed at which it evolves. If you love problem solving, there is no shortage of that,” said Cinnor. “If you’re not delivering, your customers will let you know. You have to be ready with products and solutions at the right time.”
3M continues to explore ways to support semiconductor manufacturers to improve product performance, process efficiency and yield.
“There are a multitude of problems to be confronted in this industry,” said Cinnor. “To be considered a credible solution provider is important for us. The semiconductor area is a key segment and focus area for us.”
Visit the 3M Semiconductor webpage to learn more about 3M’s semiconductor solutions and to view the products at work.