2011 ITRS: DRAM, 3D Flash, MEMS, nano scaling steal the show

February 8, 2012 — The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), representing US semiconductor manufacturing and design, released the 2011 International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS), a roadmap of near-term and long-term challenges and innovations for the semiconductor design and manufacturing industry through 2026.

Also read: ITRS 2010: What happened during this off-year?

The ITRS is sponsored by five regions of the world; Europe, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and the United States and is overseen by SIA. The 2011 ITRS was first presented at a public forum in Incheon, Korea on December 14, 2011. Through the cooperative efforts of the global chip manufacturers and equipment suppliers, research communities and consortia, the Roadmap teams identify critical challenges, technical needs and potential solutions.

2011 edition. Several key areas of advancement have been highlighted in the 2011 ITRS, specifically: DRAM and Flash memory, and micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS).

Dynamic random access memory (DRAM) technology development will be accelerated, allowing for new higher-performance servers and sophisticated graphics for game consoles. Flash technology, used as memory in mobile computing devices such as digital cameras, tablet PCs and cell phones, will experience accelerated development over the next 2 years. The introduction of three-dimensional (3D) flash technology, beginning in 2016, will bring greater memory capabilities to a range of popular consumer electronics.

The 2011 ITRS also explores the newest possibilities for innovative interconnects, switches, devices, and materials to advance nanotechnology. While the continued scaling down to the nanometer level occurs, innovative designs and models for new applications and products have expanded research and development of MEMS, increasingly included in smartphones, tablets, digital cameras, and numerous other consumer electronic products. Researchers are also increasing attention on RF and analog mixed-signal technologies.

Also read: NIST collaborates on MEMS roadmaps: ITRS, iNEMI

One of the primary challenges that the industry has identified is how to decrease the size of semiconductors while increasing performance standards to meet consumer demands. In addition to addressing scale and performance challenges, the ITRS presents models for enhancing the highly complex manufacturing and measurement processes required to achieve smaller, higher performance and more energy efficient semiconductors. The ITRS also focuses on cost-effective manufacturing and resource conservation to meet the rapidly changing needs of semiconductor design innovations.

Also read: Packaging, assembly changes coming in next ITRS

Each ITRS working group coordinates with related teams across disciplines to write reports indicating the state of the current technology, technology challenges, critical needs, potential solutions, and areas of innovation. When incorporated into the ITRS, the reports provide guidelines for the global industry that are intended for technology assessment only, without regard to any commercial considerations. The roadmap can serve as a guide for corporate strategic plans and business unit programs; help to assess lead times for equipment development plans, process and materials; and assess key metrics for industry productivity/profitability such as progress on Moore’s law, productivity trends, industry cycles and economic models.

Access the ITRS at www.itrs.net

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