SAN FRANCISCO Intel Corp. executives told equipment vendors on Tuesday (July 12) that new materials and greater investment will be needed to extend CMOS technology beyond the middle of the next decade.
"Evolutionary CMOS" technology is expected to extend to about 2013, C. Mike Garner, director of Intel's Materials Technology Operations, told the Semicon West conference here. Beyond that, Garner said "revolutionary CMOS" technologies will be needed to keep pace with ever-shrinking chip geometries.
Among the revolutionary materials could be nanowires and carbon nanotubes, he added, along with new photoresist approaches that could, for example, use self-assembly techniques to eliminate the line-edge roughness increasingly seen at 65-nm and lower geometries.
"Just to extend CMOS technology, we see the need for new materials," said Garner, adding higher-k materials to the list of requirements for at least the next several generations of CMOS.
So-called "nano-structured materials" such as 5-nm silicon nanowires hold promise, but Garner told chip makers that these materials don't always grow where needed or in the proper orientation. University research is focusing on providing greater uniformity, and Garner said catalyst materials are critical to this effort.
Beyond 2020, chip makers are looking to exotic materials to take over from CMOS. Garner said requirements beyond scalability and better performance will include compatibility with existing CMOS processes and architectures.
Intel is currently investing about $5 billion annually in research and development. Company executives acknowledge that more funds need to be invested in materials research. "We do expect to see an increase" in Intel's investment in materials research, Bob Bruck, the company's vice president of technology and manufacturing, said here.
Bruck did not elaborate on how much Intel currently spends on materials research or how big an increase he expected. He did say the chip giant is investing heavily in 65-nm and lower process technologies while pursuing cost-saving strategies like "flex fabs" that can be converted to new 300-mm production.
Bruck also said Intel is seeking to reuse existing facilities rather than investing in new ones.