From FinFETs To Gate-All-Around

When they were first commercialized at the 22 nm node, finFETs represented a revolutionary change to the way we build transistors, the tiny switches in the “brains” of a chip. As compared to prior planar transistors, the fin, contacted on three sides by the gate, provides much better control of the channel formed within the fin. But, finFETs are already reaching the end of their utility as... » read more

A Paradigm Shift With Vertical Nanowire FETs For 5nm And Beyond

When I was in undergrad not so long ago, all my circuits and semiconductor textbooks/professors were talking about MOSFETs (metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect transistor) that were just “better” than BJTs (bi-polar junction transistor). There were still some old professors talking about how they did an excellent job using BJTs, but everyone knew it was MOSFET that was leading the game i... » read more

5nm Fab Challenges

At a recent event, Intel presented a paper that generated sparks and fueled speculation regarding the future direction of the leading-edge IC industry. The company described a next-generation transistor called the nanowire FET, which is a finFET turned on its side with a gate wrapped around it. Intel’s nanowire FET, sometimes called a gate-all-around FET, is said to meet the device require... » read more

Will 5nm Happen?

Chipmakers are ramping up their 16/14nm finFET processes, with 10nm finFETs expected to ship sometime in late 2016 or early 2017. So what’s next? The foundries can see a path to extend the finFET transistor to 7nm, but the next node, 5nm, is far from certain and may never happen. Indeed, there are several technical and economic challenges at 5nm. And even if 5nm happens, only a few compani... » read more