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02-08-2008 03:11 AM  11 years ago
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hootowl

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Garnet Valley, Pa.

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Shrinking semis
Some day semiconductor chip components may cease to shrink; that day is not now.

"The new technology features more efficient materials that replace, for the first time in almost 40 years, polycrystalline silicon gate electrodes and silicon oxide–based insulators—core components of the transistor, the on/off switch of an integrated circuit.

The new standard
The move was a response to a line in the sand drawn by fundamental physical limitations. As key circuit features shrank to single-digit nanometer dimensions, quantum tunneling of charge carriers through thinning silicon-based insulators, also called gate dielectrics, threatened the continuation of Moore's law—the doubling of transistor density approximately every two years. The semiconductor industry could no longer ignore the power loss and excessive heating that resulted from the leakage currents and was forced to seek an alternative material."

SOURCE
Wolves don't lose sleep over the opinions of sheep
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02-08-2008 03:18 AM  11 years ago
Topher

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Rochester, Michigan

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Theres all kinds of technology like this coming out now especially in high power electronics with IGBTs. SiO is now a material of the past, now everyone is looking to GaAr.will wash your heli for a quarter
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02-08-2008 03:26 AM  11 years ago
GyroFreak

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Orlando Florida ...28N 81W

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No matter what the gate insulator is made of, isn't there a fundamental limit how close the source and drain get before quantum tunneling, or some other physical electrical breakdown between the two ?. Just asking. ?I think about the hereafter. I go somewhere to get something, then wonder what I'm here after ?
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02-08-2008 05:04 AM  11 years ago
Rob_T

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No matter what the gate insulator is made of, isn't there a fundamental limit how close the source and drain get before quantum tunneling, or some other physical electrical breakdown between the two ?. Just asking. ?
Yes, that's true. That's the main reason why the "standard" operating voltage have been reducing over the last 10 years. For a long time, the "standard" operating voltage for a logic chip was 5V. For about the last 10 years (maybe a little more), the standard operating voltages have been gradually decreasing because punch through happens at less than 5V. Reducing the operating voltage is also beneficial because it reduces the heat generated during operation.

As sizes shrink and voltages drop, the ultimate limit is when the difference between "on" and "off" in a transistor is defined by a single electron. We're not there yet, but it's getting closer.

There's a chip I worked on in the late 80s where the acceptable tolerance at a particular point in the circuit worked out to be 300 electrons, and chips have shrunk a lot since then.

Incidentally, I remember metal gate MOSFETS as being the very earliest, before polysilicon became the standard gate. Just shows nothing is new!
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02-08-2008 01:45 PM  11 years ago
Dave M

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Mi.

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I thought this was going to be about trucks for dwarfs. It's OK....It's not your fault !!!
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02-08-2008 01:53 PM  11 years ago
duvlitho

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Gilbert, Arizona

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I've been in the industry for 14yrs now...you'd be amazed at the changes in the lithography tools that are available to print the circuits that small.

http://www.asml.com/focusonwater/en.html
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02-08-2008 02:33 PM  11 years ago
1stPlace

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Ohio USA

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MOSFETS
NOOooooo!!!! Unreliable overheating pos!!!
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