In 1947 the first transistor was developed at Bell labs. That was the foundation of solid state electronics as this invention expanded the possibilities in the design of analog circuits and some logic functions which were not possible with bipolar diode. A few years later Jack Kilby and Robert Noyce (Co-founder of Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel) built upon the foundation placed by Bell labs. The two researchers worked independently and fabricated integrated circuits with a couple of transistors. These bulky circuits proved the concept of integration of multiple devices on a single piece of silicon. Semiconductor industry took the invention seriously and worked on the concept to realize integration of devices at Small scale (SS), Medium scale (MS), Large scale (LS), Very large scale (VLS) and ultra large scale (ULS) progressively with evolving technology and fabrication techniques. The evolution took decades of learning and huge knowledge base of semiconductor physics and material science. The rate of evolution observed in semiconductor technology is even higher than the predictions under “Moore’s Law” by Gordon Moore (Chairman of Intel). Now we are at the stage where Ultra large scale integration has enabled us to fabricate millions of transistor on a single chip. The results of ULSI are System on Chip (SoC), Network on Chips (NoC) and Stock IC’s. Now we are heading toward a minimum feature size of 5 nano-meter (nm), which results in a channel length of a few atoms.
What is the future of semiconductor industry below 5-nm?
Author - Krishan verma
(Research Associate at SiliconMentor)