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Moore’s Law In a Sub 20nm Era

Moore’s Law, which is based on the laws of nature, has long been relied upon by the semiconductor industry. Through the principles of the law, the industry has been able to set appropriate goals for research and development, and draft highly strategic long term plans.

Initially, the law predicted that the period for a doubling in chip performance, due to such factors as faster processing speeds and increase in number of transistors, would be one year. It was later changed to every two years, before being reduced to 18 months, where it stands today. While the law has been extremely accurate over the past 50 years, growth is expected to slow down quite significantly. It is predicted that this slowed growth will begin toward the end of 2013, with a doubling in performance at a rate of every three years. Many experts agree that this growth will actually come to a halt at some point in the near future, causing Moore’s law to become obsolete.

While the semiconductor industry has been operating within an extremely beneficial system that provided a linear shrinkage for close to fifty years, the system is changing at the 20nm node. For the first time in industry history, there is no cost/transistor crossover available as the switch is made from 28nm. Due to the highly complex nature of the new 20nm technology, the price of wafers is increasing by 41 percent. This is huge as the original change in cost per wafer in past years during changes in technology only increased by 15 to 20 percent per node.

One solution that the semiconductor industry has considered is moving to 450mm wafers, however, this will not solve the problem at hand as it has done in past years. While there will be a sizeable reduction in cost, it is not a viable long term solution. As such, squeezed cost margins must occur somewhere, with current candidates being the following:

  • Suppliers of such materials as wafer fabrications and lithography
  • Silicones foundries
  • Semiconductor industry companies
  • End users

Many experts argue that the semiconductor industry is moving toward technologies that require an ever increasing number of transistors, meaning Moore’s Law will no longer applicable in a 20nm era, and solutions such as those listed above now have to be considered.

At ShinEtsu MicroSi, a semiconductor industry supplier of such products as adhesion promoters and nano-imprint technologies, we are excited to see what future technologies are in store for us and our customers. We pride ourselves on performing research and development, and staying on top of the latest technologies as they pertain to the semiconductor industry. To learn more about our high quality, technologically advanced products, call ShinEtsu Phoenix today at (480) 893-8898 or contact us online.