Recognition of innovations implemented in any technology and product is not a straightforward
exercise. Especially when the innovations are embedded deeply in the architecture and circuit designs of semiconductor chips in the form of state of the art memory devices or complex logic chips performing tasks
unprecedented with previous technology. When it comes to new materials, it is even harder to identify, compare, and select the true innovator.
The Insight Awards has been recognizing innovators in semiconductor industry since 2000. Despite the challenges, parallel innovations made
inside Semiconductor Insights to identify and analyze innovative
technologies introduced by the industry leaders have made this program
a continued success.
By focusing on the most advanced technologies and products, the Insight
Award has been helping the industry to understand the current state of
the art of the industry's leading technologies. The areas of focus
include DRAM, Non Volatile Memory, RF and Wireless ICs, Process
technology, Display driver ICs, Mobile processors, which represent the
full gamut of the program.
Past Insight Award winners include Qualcomm MSM6260, Micron 78nm 1Gbit
DDR3 SDRAM, Samsung 51nm 16Gbit MLC NAND Flash, Marvell 88W8686 Mobile
802.11a/b/g RF Transceiver IC, Toshiba T6K84 Display driver
IC, Texas Instrument BRF6300 Bluetooth Transceiver IC, Toshiba 70nm
8Gbit MLC NAND Flash to name a few.
This year's awards program has attracted many nominees in four
categories " most innovative process technology, most innovative DRAM
technology, most innovative Non Volatile Memory technology and most
innovative mobile process technology. There are many nominees from 5x
nm DRAM process nodes which represent the state of the art of the DRAM
industry. 4x nm and 3x nm NAND Flash nominees also signify the true
competitive nature of this program in the cutting edge NAND Flash
technology category. Mobile processor category, which was added to the
2008 program to recognize the growing interest and market in mobile
computing area has attracted interesting devices from major companies
and one startup. Process category, has seen various 40 nm logic process
technologies from IDMs and one foundry, and three memory technologies,
which made this category the most challenging to choose a winner.
The most innovative Process technology
The winner in this category is the 32nm MLC NAND Flash from Micron
Technology Inc. This product, achieving the highest bit density with
190Mbit per mm2, ushered in the 3x nm process era in the commodity NAND
Flash industry. Micron Technology has successfully implemented the
immersion lithography with Self Aligned Double Patterning which is
critical in achieving the bit density with 3x nm process node. Some
other innovations that Micron implemented include the introduction of a
new material wordline to reduce RC delays, special measures to minimize
cross talks between memory cells.
Vishal Sarin, Director of NAND
Analog for Micron Technology accepts the Award for Most Innovative
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.