The global IoT market is poised for explosive growth. By 2020, the market is expected to soar to $7.1 trillion. This infographic, courtesy of Jabil, gives an good overview of what will be connected (even garbage bins!).
There is much talk these days about continued scaling, including some recent posts by my colleague Ed Korczynski, in “Moore’s Law is Dead” Part 1 (What?) and Part 2 (When?). At The ConFab in June, keynote speaker, Dr. Gary Patton, vice president, semiconductor research and development center at IBM, talked about scaling, adding some historical perspective. I previously blogged about the “three fundamental shifts” that Patton believes will lead to a bright future for the semiconductor industry.
“We will keep scaling,” he said. “We have shown a tremendous ability to innovate and keep moving that technology forward.”
In the 1990s, Patton notes that life was actually pretty simple. “You brought in a new lithography tool, you scaled the horizontal dimensions, you scaled the vertical dimensions and you got a new technology out. It was better performance, the same power density, and you could do a lot more on the chip,” he said.
Around 2000, we hit the gate oxide limit. “Gate oxide got to be abount three atomic layers. We could have said at that point ‘game over, scaling has ended.’ But guess what, we innovated. We came up with a pretty fundamental shift in ideas which is let’s change the fundamental properties of silicon. If we can strain the silicon, we can enhance the mobility. We can change the gate oxide. We can enhance the coupling between the gate and the channel. And that’s what we get over that last decade. We said let’s go from SRAM to a very high performance eDRAM (embedded DRAM) so we can put a lot more memory next to the processor because we knew memory was a key gating factor for the processor speed. This enabled the personal computing era and smart consumer electronics,” Patton said.
In 2010, we were at another one of these inflection points. “It’s not surprising that the improvements in 20nm are less than people would like because we really reached the end of the planar device era. Again, we were saying ‘game over, we’re done scaling.’ But no, we continue to innovate. The next decade is really about 3D. 3D devices, finFETs, or 3D chip integration,” he added.
Patton said that design technology co-optimization will be a key piece of getting through the next decade. “That will probably take us to about 2020,” he said. At that point we’re going to “hit the atomic dimension limit and we’re going to have to do it all over again. Here, we’re going to get into nanotechnology. Nanowire devices, silicon nanowires, carbon nanotubes, photonics and multi-chip stacking to bring things together. That will enable wearable computing, everywhere connectivity and cognitive computing.”
Patton said the problem is not physics. “We’re going to have solved the physics problems,” he said. “The problem is financial.” Patton showed a chart (below) that depicted the history of our industry from 1980 to present. “What drove the industry was smaller features, which enabled better performance and better cost per function. It enabled new types of applications, and that enabled larger markets. If you look in this time period, there’s about a six order of magnitude improvement in cost per transistor and that enabled a seven order of magnitude increase in consumption of silicon transistors,” he said.
The challenge we’re facing right now is depicted below, showing the compound growth rate reduction and the cost of a circuit. On the x-axis is linear scaling. “We’ve typically targeted about a 0.7X linear scaling, which means from an area perspective, you get about 50% improvement. Note the line, 50%, doesn’t go through 50% improvement because with each new technology, there is some increase in complexity. It might be more like 30% improvement at the die level. If we’re really good and provide some enhancements in the technology, self-aligned processes, things like that, we may get it to 40%. So 30-40% is about the range we’ve been getting in terms of the cost per die improvement as we scale up.
“The challenge we’re facing now is two fold. Number one, we’re struggling to get that 0.7X linear scaling. It might be about 0.8X. And we’re adding a lot more complexity, especially when you adding double and triple patterning .The focus today in innovation has got to be heavily focused on ‘how do we drive cost?’ Not just how do you scale, because scaling would add a lot of extra cost at this point. How do we drive cost down, how do we keep adding value to the technology. The model is changing. Moore’s Law can still hold, but we have to focus on the cost equation. So there’s really two parts. Technology innovation which is focusing on the patterning, focusing on the materials, the processing, and how do we drive that to take cost out of the technology scaling,” Patton said.
At The ConFab last week, Dr. Gary Patton, vice president, semiconductor research and development center at IBM, said there is a bright future in microelectronics (I heartily agree). He said that although there seems to be a fair amount of doom and gloom that scaling is ending and Moore’s Law is over, he is very positive. “There are three huge fundamental shifts that are going to drive our industry forward, will drive revenue growth and will force us to keep innovating to enable new opportunities,” he said.
The first fundamental shift is the explosion of applications in the consumer and mobile space. Patton noted examples such as cars that can drive themselves and can detect people and bicyclists and avoid them, smart phones for as little as $25, wearable devices that not only tell you what you’re doing but how you’re doing, and 4K television. “That is an incredible TV system, but it’s going to demand a lot of bandwidth; twice the bandwidth that’s out there today. If you turn on your 4K system, your neighbors are going to start to notice it when they try to access the internet,” he said.
Patton said that it’s estimated that today there are about 12.5 billion devices connected to the internet. That’s expected to grow to $30 billion by 2020. This represents the second fundamental shift commonly known as Big Data. “All these interconnected devices are shoving tremendous amount of data up into the cloud at the rate of 1.5 Exabytes (1018) bytes of data per month,” Patton said. “And that’s grown by about an order of magnitude in just the last 13 years. The estimate is that in the next 4 years, it’s going to go up another order of magnitude. It’s accelerating.”
The third fundamental shift is with all this data going up into the cloud, the data is almost all unstructured data, such as video and audio. “It’s related data but disconnected. How do we take that data and do something with it? That brings us to analytics and cognitive computing. We have really just started in this arena.”
So there you have it. Three reasons to be very positive about the future of the semiconductor industry: an explosion of applications, the rise of big data and the need to analyze all that data.
Join us for a MEMS-focused webcast on Thursday, June 19th at 12:00pm Eastern time. Click here to go directly to the registration page.
Jay Esfandyari, Director of MEMS and Analog Product Marketing at STMicroelectronics, will discuss the rise of MEMS sensors. Although Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) have been around for a long time, the introduction of the technology into consumer markets, with Nintendo’s Wii in late 2006, opened the floodgates with multiple MEMS – accelerometers, gyros, compasses, pressure sensors and microphones — now in smartphones and tablets. And you ain’t seen nothing, yet!
Next, Simone Severi, lead for SiGe MEMS at imec, will discuss SiGe MEMS technology for monolithic integration on CMOS. He will describe the recent development of MEMS technologies at imec that enables the monolithic integration of MEMS on CMOS. This approach represents a potential key advantage for a variety of MEMS systems as it can lead to a device performance improvement and to the scaling of the system area with consequent cost and package size reduction. Systems requiring multiple MEMS devices on chip or large MEMS array will benefit the most out of this approach.
One route focuses on the direct post processing on top of CMOS of a low temperature SiGe material, fully compatible with standard Al back end of line processes. This platform can realize a compact system for multi sensing applications. Accelerometers, capacitive pressure, compass and temperature sensors are among the candidate sensors to be combined on the same chip, e.g., to yield implantable (or wearable) products for the medical field, chips for the consumer or automotive market. Array of Capacitive Micromachined Ultrasonic Transducers are demonstrated for potential medical imaging systems. Key asset for the success of this CMOS-MEMS monolithic approach is the implementation of an hermetic thin film packaging technology. Thin film hermetic SiGe packages are demonstrated with cavity pressure ranging from few Pa up to several 100mBar. This technology has the potential to enable a scaling of the form factors while reducing packaging and testing costs.
Jay Esfandyari has more than 20 years of industry experience in Semiconductor Technology, integrated circuits fabrication processes, MEMS & sensors design and development, sensor networking, product marketing, business development and product strategy. Jay holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Technology of Vienna, Austria. He has more than 60 publications and conference contributions. Jay is currently the Director of MEMS and Analog Product Marketing at STMicroelectronics and he is located in Dallas, Texas.
Simone Severi joined IMEC Leuven in 2007, working on microsystems for mass data storage devices, poly-SiGe surface micromachining technology and CMOS integrated biosensors. In 2009 he became the team leader of the specialty component group at IMEC, with specific focus on MEMS and Bio-Photonics sensors.
Severi received his M.S. degree in microelectronic engineering from the University of Bologna, Italy, in 2001 and his Ph. D degree from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in 2006. During his Ph.D course he worked on ultimate device scaling, innovative channel engineering and processing for future CMOS devices technologies.
The semiconductor industry has greatly benefited from the push to mobile technology, but what’s next? It could well be the Internet of Things (IoT), which includes smart homes, smart cars, smart TVs, wearable electronics and beacons. According to an analysis by Business Insider, The Internet of Things alone will surpass the PC, tablet and phone market combined by 2017, with a global internet device installed base of around 7,500,000,000 devices.
In a keynote talk at the Advanced Semiconductor Manufacturing Conference (ASMC), John Lin gave some insight into the technology challenges the IoT will create. John is the Vice President and General Manager of Operation of G450C Consortium. Prior to joining G450C, Dr. Lin was the Director of Manufacturing Technology Center in TSMC.
“What is the next big thing?,” he asked? In 2014, after mobile computing, we believe it is the Internet of things. Many of the devices needed to connect to the internet will grow very fast. We need to prepare the technology for that.” John said the ultra-low power will be a primary concern. Processors, sensors and connectivity will also be key. “To support this at TSMC, we will continue with our ultra-low power efforts and continue to support advanced nodes, from 28, 20, 16 to 10nm.” He also said the company will focus on “special” technologies such as image sensor, embedded DRAMs, high-voltage power ICs, RF, analog, and embedded flash. “All this will support all of the future Internet of Things,” he said.
The Business Insider report also notes that the wearables, connected car and tv markets will equal the tablet market by 2018. Smart appliances are already going mass market. More than 250,000 Nest thermostats, for example, have already shipped this year. Connected TVs are overtaking traditional TVs: A connection to the internet will become common in fully loaded cars. US regulators are slowly allowing more aerial drones. Also expect to see more “beacons” in retailer establishments, such as Apple’s iBeacons, which are used to communicate with shoppers in-store.
Subramani Kengeri, Vice President, Advanced Technology Architecture at GLOBALFOUNDRIES will speak at The ConFab 2014 on the “techno-economics” of how the relatively small semiconductor industry ($350 billion or $0.35 trillion) is driving the $85 trillion gross world product (GWP). He notes that semiconductors are only a fraction of GWP, but a critical enabler of global economic growth and productivity. Cost effective technology innovations have kept Moore’s law alive, although techno-economic challenges are mounting on each successive node. The cost of building a new advanced fab has reached $6B. Process development and chip design costs are going up astronomically, while next generation SoCs in the IoT era are pushing cost-per-function to unprecedented levels, he says. His talk will review advanced design and silicon technology challenges posing threats to cost effective scaling, potentially impacting global GWP and productivity.
Subramani (“Subi”) is responsible for defining competitive process architecture on advanced nodes in support of “first time right” technology development. He is responsible for determining the technology feasibility, competitiveness and manufacturability of all elements of technology platform and to establish the advanced technology roadmap for GLOBALFOUNDRIES.
Subramani joined GLOBALFOUNDRIES in 2009 as the Vice President of Design Solutions. He implemented strategic Design enablement initiatives and established a strong foundation for collaboration with Design eco-system, before moving to focus on R&D. He started his Semiconductor career at Texas Instruments and prior to joining GLOBALFOUNDRIES, he was the Senior Director of Design and Technology Platform at TSMC.
The newly revamped International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors was released in early April. It’s actually called the 2013 ITRS, which makes it seem already out of date, but that’s the way the numbering has always been.
It’s a big undertaking, with input from the U.S., Europe, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. Through the cooperative efforts of the global chip manufacturers and equipment suppliers, research communities and consortia, the ITRS identifies critical gaps, technical needs, and potential solutions related to semiconductor technology. Some key findings and predictions of the 2013 ITRS include the following:
• The combination of 3D device architecture and low power devices will usher in a new era of scaling identified in short as “3D Power Scaling.” The increase in the number of transistors per unit area will eventually be accomplished by stacking multiple layers of transistors.
• Progress in manipulation of edgeless wrapped materials (e.g., carbon nanotubes, graphene combinations, etc.) offer the promise of ballistic conductors (as shown on this month’s cover), which may emerge in the next decade.
• There will be two additional ways of providing novel opportunities for future semiconductor products. The first consists of extending the functionality of the CMOS platform via heterogeneous integration of new technologies, and the second consists of stimulating invention of devices that support new information-processing paradigms.
The ITRS also covers system level integration, including the integration of multiple technologies in a limited space (e.g., GPS, phone, tablet, mobile phones, etc.).
Looking at Long Term Devices and Systems (7-15 years horizon, beyond 2020) the 2013 ITRS reports on completely new devices operating on completely new principles and amenable to support completely new architectures. For instance, spin wave device (SWD) is a type of magnetic logic device exploiting collective spin oscillation (spin waves) for information transmission and processing. No surprise, the manufacturing of integrated circuits, driven by dimensional scaling, will reach the few nanometers range well within the 15-year horizon of the 2013 ITRS.
An addition to the 2013 ITRS edition is a new sub-chapter on big data (BD). The fab is continually becoming more data driven and requirements for data volumes, communication speeds, quality, merging, and usability need to be understood and quantified.
On-chip interconnects have not been scaling at the same speed as transistors. When TSMC went from 20nm to 16/14nm, for example, they decided to replace the bulk MOSFET with a FinFET, but they left the interconnect stack as is. In part, interconnect scaling has been slow because companies don’t want to make too many major changes at the same time and introduce risk. Costs, of course, are also an issue. “When you’ve got ten layers of metal and let’s say six layers of those are close to minimum pitch, it gets very expensive once you start doing double patterning,” said Dr. Deepak Chandra Sekar, general co-chair of the upcoming 2014 IITC/AMC joint conference. “With the interconnect layers, people want to save litho costs. That’s one reason they are not scaling as much as they used to.”
But the major reason is that it’s difficult to make interconnects much smaller without introducing significant increases in resistivity. “If you scale down and your resistivity goes up exponentially, it can be a problem,” Sekar said. “Copper resistivity shoots up when you scale it down because of surface scattering, grain boundary scattering and interface roughness.”
The 17th annual International Interconnect Technology Conference (IITC) will be held May 21 – 23, 2014 in conjunction with the 31st Advanced Metallization Conference (AMC) at the Doubletree Hotel in San Jose, California. It will be preceded by a day-long workshop on “Manufacturing of Interconnect Technologies: Where are we now and where do we go from here?” on Tuesday, May 20.
Sekar highlighted a number of papers that will be presented this year. Many of them focus on new materials that could lead to reduced resistivity and enable further interconnect scaling. “There is a lot of excitement about carbon and carbon-copper composites eventually replacing copper,” he said. “At IITC this year, we have a couple of papers, one on graphene showing lower resistivity than copper, and then one on carbon nanotubes showing good resistivity as well. They are still a bit far out in the sense that there’s a lot more process integration work that needs to be done because these are proof of concept demos, but they show that there might be more beyond copper.”
In a paper from AIST, titled “Sub 10nm wide intercalated multi-layer graphene interconnects with low resistivity,” work will be presented that demonstrates 8nm wide 6.4nm thick graphene interconnects with a resistivity of 3.2uohm-cm, which is significantly better than copper with similar dimensions. This milestone for graphene interconnect research is expected to motivate the process integration research that is required to take the technology to the next level.
Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have been explored as a material for vertical interconnects for many years since they can handle higher current densities than copper and offer ballistic transport. A paper from imec titled “Electron Mean Free Path for CNT in Vertical Interconnects Approaches Copper,” work will be presented that demonstrates a 5x improvement in electron mean free path for CNTs compared to previous work. The CNT mean free path of 24-74nm approaches copper. Contact resistance is improved significantly compared to previous work as well.
Another challenge to scaling of interconnects: reliability. Both time-dependent-dielectric-breakdown (TDDB) and electromigration lifetimes for interconnects drop rapidly when scaled. In work to be presented at IITC/AMC, IBM and Applied Materials will present a multi-layer SiN cap process is developed that shows higher breakdown and lower leakage compared to conventional SiCNH caps. Selective cobalt caps in combination with the multi-layer SiN cap are shown to provide a 10x improvement in electromigration lifetimes. Wrap-around cobalt liners in combination with the cap layer schemes are shown to provide a 1000x improvement in electromigration lifetimes. The paper is titled “Advanced Metal and Dielectric Barrier Cap Films for Cu Low k Interconnects.”
Of course, an alternative to making everything smaller by scaling is to go 3D. That will be addressed by a variety of papers, including one from CEA-Leti focused on 3D monolithic integration. While most of today’s through-silicon vias (TSVs) are in the 5µm range, monolithic 3D technologies offer TSVs in the 50nm range, which allows dense connectivity between different layers in a 3D-IC. In the Leti paper, such dense connectivity is shown to provide 55% area reduction and 47% energy-delay product improvement for a 14nm FPGA design. Transistor technologies that allow monolithic 3D integration are experimentally demonstrated. “When you make the TSVs smaller and smaller, you can reduce the length of on-chip wires as well by taking what’s on a single now and stacking them into two layers,” Sekar said. “That might save a lot of power and area. There’s been a lot of talk about monolithic 3D, but these are some of the first few experimental demonstrations showing that it’s possible.”
Dr. Roawen Chen, senior vice president of global operations at Qualcomm, will provide the keynote talk at The ConFab 2014 this year. The event will be held June 22-25 at The Encore at The Wynn in Las Vegas.
In his talk, Dr. Chen, will describe how the increased performance and the rapid shift from traditional handsets to consumer computing device post a number of manufacturing and supply chain challenges for fabless chip makers. He says the scale of the challenges also creates an “extreme stress” for the existing foundry/fabless model to defend its excellence in this dynamic landscape. In this talk of “what’s on our mind?” he will deliberate on a number of headwinds and opportunities.
In his role at Qualcomm, Roawen oversees the worldwide operations and supply chain, silicon and package technology, quality/reliability, and procurement functions for the Qualcomm semiconductor business. He has overall responsibility for driving the global integrated fabless strategy and execution.
Roawen is an experienced leader in all aspects of semiconductor operations and supply chain management with a solid background in leading large-scale fabless operations. In addition to his strong technical depth, he has proven experience in building close supplier and vendor relationships and executing to support customer demand and product development. Prior to Qualcomm, Roawen was Vice President of Manufacturing Operations at Marvell Semiconductor in Santa Clara, California. During his more than 12 years at Marvell, Roawen held a variety of leadership roles, including Vice President and General Manager of the Communications and Computing business unit and Vice President and General Manager of the Connectivity business unit. He has also served in management roles in Marvell’s Foundry Operations and Manufacturing Technology groups.
Prior to Marvell, Roawen held technical positions at TSMC-USA and Intel. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Physics from National Tsing-Hua University in Taiwan, a master’s degree in Materials Science from the University of California, San Diego and a PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley.
The semiconductor market will continue at a steady growth rate for the next several years. For a semiconductor company to achieve significant growth in this ultra-competitive environment, it needs to identify market opportunities and predict the future, in terms of markets, both regionally and globally, anticipate technological advancements, as well as envision new applications. At The ConFab in June, Session 1 will provide an overview of these critical issues.
The presenters will be:
Vijay Ullal, COO, Fairchild Semiconductor
Dave Anderson, President and CEO, Novati Technologies
Gopal Rao, Senior Director Business Development, SEMATECH
Adrian Maynes, Program Manager, F450C
Bill McClean, President, IC Insights
Here’s an overview of what each presenter plans to cover:
The Economics of Semiconductor Manufacturing and the Escalating Cost of R&D
Vijay Ullal, COO, Fairchild Semiconductor
While innovation in semiconductor technology is driving change in industries from automotive to mobile, and the sophistication of computers, mobile devices, automobiles, industrial systems and consumer goods evolves, greater pressure is placed on semiconductor research and development (R&D) as well as Supply Chain Management (SCM). Now, the bar has been raised from not only delivering leading-edge technology, but also to delivering far greater value to an organization. This presentation will use examples of to focus R&D as well as revitalize your supply chain in order to highlight your competitive advantages, and better meet these market place demands by moving beyond the “product sell” to an approach that focuses instead on the key attributes customer’s value.
More-than-Moore: A New Era of Innovation
Dave Anderson, CEO, Novati Technologies
The semiconductor industry has focused on Moore’s Law for more than 40 years in its quest for ever shrinking geometries to squeeze more transistors on a chip and improve device speed and performance. Digital microcircuits have benefited immensely from this extreme scaling but, with fewer companies having the ability to support further scaling, More-than-Moore (MtM) has emerged to apply decades of semiconductor process knowledge to novel applications to produce state-of-the-art biochips, sensors, actuators, imagers and more. Perhaps most importantly, MtM technology is enabling companies to build these components more cost-effectively and with better performance and smaller size than ever before.
Providing a significant advantage over traditional volume foundries, a new wave of boutique nanotechnology development centers is in a unique position to integrate new materials with custom processes. This provides a rapid acceleration of development and production for world-leading ideas and breakthrough MtM products.
The result is a new era of innovation that couples the best of the past with future demands to create valuable applications and markets. The era for enabling the most rapid, but affordable, new product development and deployment has begun.
Enabling the Supply Chain to Accelerate R&D
Gopal Rao, Senior Director of Business Development, SEMATECH
There is a push/pull market energy that is now, more than ever, influencing the device makers, suppliers and the consumers who are thirsty for innovative mobile computing and connected devices. The IC industry has relied on a push based roadmaps to bring products to market. It is important that we acknowledge that the consumer appetite for innovative and cool products has created a pull system that may be considered a roadmap. The challenge facing the whole IC industry is how to recognize, rationalize and leverage these push/pull roadmaps. This talk examines this IC industry challenge and opportunity, specifically in moving the vast supply chain to feed into this fast moving market. The pace of R&D through entire supply chain is essential in staying ahead of the curve and driving down cost of technology and manufacturing. Radical, innovative product designs to meet consumer demand will push into the IC supply chain the need to identify and develop significant cost/performance improvements in IC device performance. What are these improvements? Are the current roadmaps highlighting them or do we need to better, integrated intelligent roadmap that helps the supply chain stay on treadmill of innovation and cost reduction?
450mm Transition towards Sustainability: Facility & Infrastructure Requirements
Adrian Maynes, F450C Program Manager
It is widely accepted that in the next few years the semiconductor industry will begin to transition to the next generation 450mm wafer size. Experts throughout the semiconductor industry are striving to make 450mm a reality from a technical and manufacturing standpoint. Along with the increase in wafer size, the industry is closely examining impacts to the facility infrastructure, as merely scaling the manufacturing process is not a practical option. The size of the 450mm facility infrastructure and its associated utility consumption projections would simply exceed affordability and resource availability.
The facility experts involved in establishing and later implementing 450mm infrastructure requirements are facing the same degree of challenges as the IC and equipment manufacturers. For the first time in semiconductor history, facility professionals are collaborating closely with the industry’s top five consolidated IC manufacturers to bring their collective expertise to bear on the most pressing 450mm fab issues. With special focus on safety, cost, schedule, sustainability, and environmental footprint, this global consortium of industry specialists is aiming to reduce the cost of production, increase productivity for manufacturers, and reduce the environmental footprint on a per chip basis
This presentation will address these various infrastructure requirements and potential issues for a more sustainable manufacturing process. The session will be co-presented by leaders of the Facilities 450mm Consortium (F450C) and the Global 450mm Consortium (G450C). These two groups are collaborating as experts from across the entire supply chain to ensure a smooth transition to the 450mm technology.
Major Trends Impacting the IC Industry of the Future
Bill McClean, Presdient, IC Insights
IC Insights forecasts that 2014 will continue the integrated circuit industry cyclical upturn that began in 2013. This cyclical upturn is expected to gain momentum over the next several years, resulting in a 6.4% IC market CAGR over the 2013-2018 time period, which would be more than 3x the 1.7% CAGR the IC market displayed from 2007-2012. Although a high level of uncertainty still looms over the global economy, sales of smartphones and tablet PCs continue to soar. IC Insights will present its forecast for the IC market in the context of the IC industry cycle model. In order to make sense out of the current turmoil, a top-down analysis of the IC market will be given and include trends in worldwide GDP growth, electronic system sales, and semiconductor industry capital spending and capacity.
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