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Atomic layer deposition (ALD) is emerging as an enabling thin film deposition technology for making semiconductor devices below 100nm design rules and for thin film head sensors (data storage) above 40GB/in2. This paper reviews the historical context of ALD as well as important critical ALD applications. Dielectrics for high topology DRAM capacitors, advanced high-k gate and barriers for interconnect use are discussed. Finally, recent enhanced ALD deposition rate pathways are reviewed.