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Integrating Professional Tcad Simulation Tools In Undergraduate Semiconductor Device Courses

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Course and Curriculum Innovations in ECE

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.766.1 - 9.766.10



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Paper Authors

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Julie Kenrow

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Integrating professional TCAD simulation tools in undergraduate semiconductor device courses

Julie Kenrow Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering University of the Pacific, Stockton, California


Semiconductor device theory and IC processing courses are becoming more important in undergraduate electrical engineering curricula due to the fast changing technologies and challenges currently facing the semiconductor industry. However, in recent years many undergraduate EE programs have cut back or discontinued courses in semiconductor devices, solid-state physics and IC processing due to the high operating costs involved in maintaining an IC fabrication laboratory.

We propose using professional Technology CAD (TCAD) simulation tools [1] as a powerful, yet economical aid in teaching undergraduate students about silicon wafer processing, semiconductor device physics, and device operation.

Who uses TCAD?

TCAD simulation tools are widely used throughout the semiconductor industry to speed up and cut the costs of developing new technologies and devices. Since a decade the R&D departments of semiconductor companies have incorporated TCAD in their design process, and recently the manufacturing sector has begun to utilize TCAD as well, e.g., to analyze the impact of IC process variation, and to investigate possible IC process optimizations as well as for yield analysis.

What is TCAD?

Technology CAD (TCAD) refers to using computer simulations to develop and optimize semiconductor processing technologies and devices. TCAD simulation tools solve fundamental, physical partial differential equations, such as diffusion and transport equations for discretized geometries, representing the silicon wafer or the layer system in a semiconductor device. This deep physical approach gives TCAD simulation predictive accuracy. It is therefore possible to substitute TCAD computer simulations for costly and time-consuming test wafer runs when developing and characterizing a new semiconductor device or technology.

TCAD consists of two main branches: process simulation and device simulation. In process simulation, processing steps such as etching, deposition, ion implantation, thermal annealing and oxidation are simulated based on physical equations, which govern the respective processing steps. The simulated part of the silicon wafer is discretized (meshed) and represented as a finite element structure (see figure 1). For example, in the simulation of thermal annealing complex

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Kenrow, J. (2004, June), Integrating Professional Tcad Simulation Tools In Undergraduate Semiconductor Device Courses Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13090

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