The conference starts off with a Short Course Session on Sunday, May 8th, that gives a background on interconnects. The session begins with two areas IITC has traditionally been strong in: interconnect technology and interconnect reliability. One of these presentations is from Vince McGahay of IBM, who will share his perspectives on where BEOL technology is headed. IITC then has two short courses discussing various lithography approaches for interconnects. These presentations are particularly relevant, since lithography for interconnect levels is a big component of a chip's total cost today. The short course session also discusses newer areas the conference is moving into, such as back-end MEMS and silicides. Following this, the session dives into 3D-IC technology with two pretty interesting presentations from Fraunhofer. If you're curious to see the abstracts of Short-Course talks, you can check them out here.
Following the short course, IITC has 4 days of technical sessions where the latest and greatest work on interconnects will be presented. The keynote address is from the VP of Technology at Globalfoundries, somewhat fittingly, since the conference is in Globalfoundries' own backyard, and because Globalfoundries is making waves in the industry by growing so quickly. In fact, I recently heard Globalfoundries' revenue more than doubled over the past year! I also heard the company's losing money. But hey, the guys in Abu Dhabi say they are patient and are willing to give Globalfoundries up to 5 years to become profitable :-)
What can we say about future interconnect trends based on the conference agenda?
- Porous low-k and improved barriers: We still have many knobs to improve interconnects this way, IITC has several sessions devoted to these.
- 3D-ICs: Looks like 3D-ICs are going to be mainstream... papers on the topic increasingly talk about production issues.
- What lies beyond Copper? We've often seen people explore nanotech options for replacing copper, such as carbon nanotubes and graphene. While I believe these options have many years to go before practical use, it is heartening to see more papers on the subject this year.
- Optical interconnects: For chip-to-chip interconnects, optical interconnects could be a long-term option... IITC 2011 has a session on the subject.
- Post by Deepak C. Sekar. This article represents my personal views and is not a reflection of the views of any organization or entity.