The nanoelectronic road ahead

September 17, 2001 | Source: KurzweilAI

The semiconductor industry has the potential for at least 20 more years of exponential progress ahead of us,” said James D. Meindl, professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of the Microelectronics Research Center at the Georgia Institute of Technology in a paper published in the September 14 issue of the journal Science.Based on a comprehensive analysis of the fundamental, material, device, circuit and system limits on silicon semiconductors, Meindl predicts engineers will be able to downsize transistors by a additional factor of ten, producing terascale integration chips containing more than a trillion transistors. (Chips poised for production today contain a billion transistors).

To produce trillion-transistor chips, he noted, the industry must be able to economically mass-produce structures on the nanometer-size scale. That means double-gate metal-oxide-semiconductor field effect transistors (MOSFETs) with gate oxide thicknesses of about one nanometer, silicon channel thicknesses of about three nanometers and channel lengths of about 10 nanometers — along with nanoscale wires for interconnecting such tiny components.

“Work that is going on in nanotechnology today is trying to create a discontinuity and jump to a brand new science and technology base,” Meindl said. “Fundamental physical limits encourage the hypothesis that silicon technology provides a singular opportunity for exploration of nanoelectronics.”

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