Japan --- June 14, 2005 --- Many people involved
in the IC business nostalgically think back to the
days of happy scaling when ‘simple'
transistor miniaturization went hand in hand with
higher performances and lower costs. These days are
over. Instead we are confronted with short-channel
effects and leakage problems leading to a ‘power
catastrophe' in future ICs. Rather complex technological
innovations such as new device architectures and
multiple-gate devices, high-k materials, metal gates
and strained silicon, are needed. Next to this power
dissipation problem, engineers are dazzled with an
increasing intra-die variability for which no obvious
cure exists from a technological point of view.
For these and other problems, a strong interaction
is needed between process engineers and system designers.
No longer can they continue on ‘living apart
together', but they have to join forces and discuss on how they can circumvent
certain problems, TOGETHER. For example, to tackle the problem of intra-die
variability, system designers will have to come up with new methods to design
reliable electronic systems out of these ‘unreliable' components. Parallel
or multi-task architectures must help in realizing power-efficient systems.
And also lithographers and designers have to learn speaking each other's language
to put a stop to the increasing complexity in lithography techniques, for example
by designing highly regular cell and interconnect architectures reducing mask/design
cost, and litho-friendly layouts improving printability.
Nanotechnology will play a key role in the ultimate fulfillment of Moore's
law. Carbon nanotubes and semiconducting nanowires are considered as possible
gateways to the final shrink that will end the scaling around 5nm physical
But not only is there the transition from the ‘era of happy scaling' to the
more challenging ultimate-CMOS era, there is also a changing society impacting
the demands put on the IC industry. Until 2000 the technological advancements
in the IC world were driven by the growing computing power of the PC. But in
the post-PC world in which we are living today, people want ‘smart' home and
car appliances, portable devices enabling secure trustworthy computing and
communication at any place and at any time. The medical world and its patients
want sensor networks allowing more safety, living comfort and better health
monitoring. The post-PC world is an Ambient Intelligence world.
This embedded-everywhere world surely needs ‘More Moore' or the continuation
of the miniaturization process to provide the needed computing and memory functionalities.
However, focus no longer is on faster computing but instead, power-efficiency
and flexibility are the main targets. The most innovative aspect of Ambient
Intelligence, namely the interaction of the devices with the user and the ambient,
requires ‘More than Moore', referring to technologies emerging around CMOS:
RF, passives, MEMS, sensors, power devices, displays etc. Nanotechnology based
on the interaction between engineers, physicists, chemists, biologists and
medical doctors will be a key enabler to expand CMOS technology in this way.
A striking example of this can be found in the field of biosensors and neurons-on-chip
where surface chemistry is used to bridge the gap between the seeming chaos
of living tissue and the planar geometry of microelectronics. Whereas the ‘More
Moore' world requires mastering giga-complexity, the ‘More than Moore' world
demands for ultra-creativity inspired by a multitude of technologies.
For sure we face challenging times, but at the same time future has never been
so exciting for the scientist with a sharp eye and an open mind. And the outlook
is fascinating: more than ever will computing and communication devices, their
networks and everything they connect, help humans reach their dreams.
Gilbert Declerck, President and CEO, IMEC
IMEC is a world-leading independent research center in nanoelectronics and
nanotechnology. Its research focuses on the next generations of chips and
systems, and on the enabling technologies for ambient intelligence. IMEC's
research bridges the gap between fundamental research at universities and
technology development in industry. Its unique balance of processing and
system know-how, intellectual property portfolio, state-of-the-art infrastructure
and its strong network of companies, universities and research institutes
worldwide, position IMEC as a key partner with which to develop and improve
technologies for future systems. IMEC is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium
and has representatives in the US, China and Japan. Its staff of more than
1300 people includes over 400 industrial residents and guest researchers.
In 2004, its revenues were EUR 159 million.
Further information on
IMEC can be found on www.imec.be
Corporate Communication Manager
IMEC, Kapeldreef 75
B- 3001 Leuven, Belgium
Tel +32 16 28 18 80
Fax +32 16 28 16 37
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