Semiconductor industry's roadmap to success

Semiconductor industry's roadmap to success

New materials, processes and device structures will need to be adopted if the semiconductor industry is to continue to improve electrical performance under such paradigms as Moore's Law, according to the semiconductor industry's 1999 roadmap.

Presenting challenges, potential solutions and highlighting issues that have yet to be addressed, the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) provides industry players with a 15-year outlook on the industry's directions and the roles they need to assume.

According to Dr Paolo Gargini, fellow and technology strategist for Intel, the semiconductor industry faces increasingly difficult challenges as the industry attempts to live up to historical expectations such as feature-sized scaling.

It will only be through cooperative `pre-competitive' initiatives that the massive research and development needed to be undertaken will succeed.

`This roadmap provides a realistic, globally synchronised approach to what we can expect technically for our industry in the future,' said Gargini. The report specifically mentions identifying, testing and developing possible alternatives to CMOS as well as strategies to extend the technology's life cycle.

The timeframe of the report's projections pushes the boundaries of what the authors, experts from Japan, Korea, Europe, Taiwan and the US, believe to be the limit of traditional scaling materials and CMOS design techniques.

Instead developers must replace existing materials with new building blocks in order to establish a new regime dubbed `equivalent scaling' that will `extend the limit of the planar CMOS process for the next five to 10 years'.

In addition to new materials, changes to circuit and system configurations must be made to achieve twofold increases in performance every two years. This includes integrating multiple silicon technologies on the same chip in what the ITRS identifies as `Performance System-on-a-Chip (P-SoC)' By Rebecca Munro

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