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Semiconductor miniaturisation at the forefront of electronics

In order to ensure the principles of Moore's law are met, the electronics industry is currently focusing on the development of increasingly smaller semiconductors so that integrated circuits need not increase in size.
The electronics industry constantly strives to miniaturise devices and components so the challenges set by Moore s law can be met.

According to Moore s law, the number of transistors on an integrated circuit will roughly double every two years without the circuit needing to increase in size, because of advances in the development of smaller semiconductors and other components.

Over the past two weeks, a number of researchers have announced progress into the miniaturisation of electronics, which is expected to lead to smaller and more energy-efficient electronics for the consumer market.

Samsung revealed that its newly formed semiconductor research and development (R&D) centre had started to probe into sub-28 nanometre production of transistor structures and materials. Sub-28 nanometre production would enable a larger number of transistors to be placed on to an integrated circuit of the same size.

Kinam Kim, executive vice-president and general manager of Samsung Electronics semiconductor R&D centre, said this would minimise power consumption of future electronics and "create innovative next-generation mobile and high-performance system-on-a-chip devices".

One of the latest announcements by researchers is from a team at North Carolina State University. There is a current focus of the electronics industry on silicon nanowires in order to support the production of increasingly smaller electronic devices.

New research from the educational establishment has found that silicon nanowires are more resilient than their larger counterparts because their mechanical properties are different.

As the diameter of nanowires decreases, the surface-to-volume ratio increases, improving semiconducting abilities. This could pave the way for smaller and more robust technologies such as light emitting diodes and nanosensors.

"The mainstream semiconductor industry is built on silicon. These wires are the building blocks for future nanoelectronics," said Dr Yong Zhu, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at North Carolina State.

During the project, the researchers wanted to see how much stress silicon nanowires could take - and it was discovered they deform differently to bulk silicon.

"These properties are essential to the design and reliability of novel silicon nanodevices," he added.

Consumers and the wider market expect more powerful electronics but many do not want technology to increase in size. Meanwhile, the current focus on energy efficiency means that products are expected to be less power hungry.

Researchers could, therefore, continue to develop the miniaturisation of semiconductors and components in order to meet market expectations and to ensure the principles of Moore s law are met.ADNFCR-2855-ID-19457525-ADNFCR
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