Paradigm shift indeed in semicon

July 11, 2007

Going through an article written by Dr. Wolfgang Ziebart, Member of the Management Board, President and CEO, Infineon Technologies, in Financial Times Deutschland, one cannot help but appreciate the great paradigm shift that has indeed taken place in the semiconductor industry.

The article titled: A paradigm shift in the semiconductor industry: Could this be the end of Moore’s Law? focuses on how changing technologies are indeed making life difficult for most market players to keep pace with all those changes.

The technical possibilities for shrinking chips have far from reached their limits at 65nm. There are preparations already on for 45nm and development work for 32nm has already started!

When PULLNANO announced breakthrough results for 32/22nm, did it surprise many? The PULLNANO consortium has fabricated a functional SRAM using innovative MOS transistors whose device architecture differs significantly from that of transistors used in 45nm technology node.

It talks about a compact SRAM cell that has been fabricated using FDSOI (Fully Depleted Silicon On Insulator), high-k dielectric and metal gate all together.

PULLNANO has demonstrated that the material and integration schemes used in 45nm generation can be modified to provide a robust solution at 32nm. It has also proposed an innovative new architecture that could provide even higher performance at 32nm and 22nm, using the so-called ‘air gap’ technique.

I do remember Dr Pradip Dutta of Synopsys India telling me about two months ago about 32nm, during a course of a telephonic conversation about ndia’s moves in the semicon space.

After that conversation, I was wondering how quickly semicon technology had started to move. How quickly, from a has-been all these years, India was suddenly emerging as a semicon base to reckon with. How quickly, the geometry had moved from 90nm to, now, 22nm!

Dr Dutta also added that there would be more emphasis in India on doing high-end designs. In fact, whether it is frequency, number of gates, high complexity, etc., all of those would be driven by applications. India is now ready for doing high-end complex designs.

Indian companies are now definitely excelling in the design services sector. Some of them have also grown significantly. It is believed that they have also taken a load off the international design services company. Some of these Indian companies are now also developing their own IPs — a paradigm shift in itself!

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