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International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors Accelerates Pace to Smaller Chip Dimensions.

Business/Technology Editors

SAN JOSE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 28, 2001

The 2001 edition of the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) calls for more aggressive scaling -- making the feature sizes on computer chips smaller -- than previously planned. The new edition of the ITRS was released today.

Today's state-of-the-art semiconductor chips feature technology nodes of 0.18 micron (180 nanometers) with 0.13 micron (130 nanometers) technologies just beginning to reach the marketplace. In the previous roadmap released in 1999, it called for the future generations of dynamic random access memories to feature critical dimensions of 100 nanometers in 2005, then 70 nanometers in 2008, 50 nanometers in 2011 and 35 nanometers in 2014. Now the industry plans to deliver 90 nanometers (2004), 65 nanometers (2007), 45 nanometers (2010), 32 nanometers (2013) and 22 nanometers (2016). This 2001 schedule translates to smaller chip dimensions earlier in time than previously thought. (Note: a micron is one-millionth of a meter. A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter. A human hair is typically 100 microns, or 100,000 nanometers in width. A red blood cell is 5 microns or 5,000 nanometers is width.)

"Lithography half-pitch and transistor gate length scaling trends continue to accelerate. This means that semiconductor chips will continue to get smaller, faster and ultimately less expensive at an even faster rate in the future," noted Paolo Gargini, Chairman of the International Roadmap Committee and Fellow, Intel Corporation. "When the 2001 Roadmap looks 15 years into the future, the physical gate length is projected to be a mere 9 nanometers. We are beginning to consider technologies beyond planar or even post-CMOS devices."

"The 2001 edition of the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors is the result of worldwide consensus building among 800 experts from the USA, Europe, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. It is a valid source of guidance for the semiconductor industry as we strive to extend the historical advancement of semiconductor technology and the worldwide integrated circuit market," said Robert Doering, vice-chairman of the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors for USA Region and Senior Fellow, Texas Instruments.

Microprocessor Transistor Gate Lengths Shrinking Even Faster

The scaling of the smallest feature size in integrated circuits -- microprocessor transistor gate lengths -- shows just six years until it hits some fundamental limits. For example, a gate length of just 25 nanometers is now projected for 2007. This dimension wasn't supposed to be reached until 2013 in the 1999 version of the Roadmap. This is in part due to the recent trend of purposely reducing gate lengths below the directly printed size by using a variety of post-lithographic process techniques. Thus, the 2001 ITRS now distinguishes "physical" gate length from gate length "printed in photoresist." At the horizon of the 2001 ITRS (now 2016), the physical gate length is project to be a mere nine nanometers. This is essentially equivalent to the most optimistic current projections on the extendibility of MOS transistors as well as the smallest experimental MOSFETS ever built. These experimental devices used a special source/drain structure that has not been demonstrated to be practical for high-performance circuits yet.

History of the ITRS

In 1992 the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) coordinated the first efforts of producing what was originally The National Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (NTRS). This roadmap of requirements and possible solutions was generated three times -- in 1992, 1994, and 1997. The NTRS provided a 15-year outlook on the major trends of the semiconductor industry. As such, it was a good reference document for semiconductor manufacturers, suppliers of equipment, materials, and software and provided clear targets for researchers in the outer years.

When the semiconductor industry became increasingly global, the realization that a Roadmap would provide guidance for the whole industry and would benefit from inputs from all regions of the world led to the creation of the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS).

The invitation to cooperate on the ITRS was extended by the SIA at the World Semiconductor Council in April of 1998 to Europe (represented by the European Electronics Component Manufacturers Association - EECA), Korea (Korea Semiconductor Industry Association - KSIA), Japan (formerly the Electronic Industry Association of Japan - EIAJ - and now the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association - JEITA), and Taiwan (Taiwan Semiconductor Industry Association - TSIA). The initial collaboration of these five organizations produced the ITRS 1998 Update. Subsequently, the five regions jointly produced The International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors, 1999 Edition and jointly sponsored The International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductor, 2000 Update.

About the SIA

The SIA is the leading voice for the semiconductor industry and has represented US-based manufacturers since 1977. SIA member companies comprise more than 90 percent of US-based semiconductor production. Collectively, the chip industry employs a domestic workforce of 284,000 people. For additional information, please visit
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Nov 28, 2001
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