Introduction to Microelectronics
Edwin C. Kan
The Information Era: Revolution by Microelectronics
Ever since the invention of transistors by Bardeen, Brattain and Shockley in 1947 in Bell
Labs, Murray Hills, NJ, followed by the monolithic integration invention of Kilby (TI) and the
miniaturization vision of Feynman
(Caltech), the microelectronics in the CMOS technology
platform has transformed our society in many aspects.
Computers, cell phones, digital cameras,
equipment microcontrollers and video games have become daily companions in our lives.
integrated circuits, vast amount of circuits carved in a piece of stone (silicon die), are the
backbone for all electrical signal processing today, thanks to the superb scaling, i.e., billions of
components can be integrated on an area of 1cm
This “nano” feature has given the integrated
circuits unprecedented capability, reliability, and efficiency.
The evolution of microelectronics in the last 40 years is best described by the Moore’s
Law, which describes the exponential change in feature size, transistors/chip, cost/bits,
operations/sec, and market revenue, as shown in Fig. 1.1.
For example, the transistor count
chip for CMOS technology doubles every 18 months for the last 40 years (from less than 1,000
in 1970 to over a billion in 2008).
Although no exponential growth can be forever, the integrated
circuits (IC) seem to achieve delaying the coming “eternity”…
In 2009, the transistor size and pitch in CMOS integrated circuits are around 60nm, about
1,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair.
The microelectronic chip is composed of
about 15 – 20 layers of materials (mainly silicon, silicon dioxide, aluminum and copper) on a
Richard Feynman’s lecture in 1959 has been regarded as the initial declaration of “nanotechnology”.
text can be found in
The prediction by Feynman then was not
exactly correct, but amazingly close.
Moore’s Law that governs the
microelectronics progression in terms of
transistors/chip (functionality, speed), cost/bit
and the minimal gate pitch feature size.