Semiconductor technology has been advancing at an extraordinary pace, underpinning diverse innovations. One prominent example is the transition from silicon to materials with higher electron mobility, such as Gallium Nitride (GaN) and Silicon Carbide (SiC). These materials enable faster and more efficient power consumption, which is crucial in applications like electric vehicles and renewable energy systems.
Additionally, the emergence of Quantum Computing has demanded advancements in semiconductor technology. Quantum computers rely on qubits, which are often realized using superconducting circuits — a form of semiconductor technology.
In memory technology, Resistive Random Access Memory (RRAM) based on metal oxide semiconductors has shown potential for high-speed, low-power data storage. This promises to revolutionize how electronic devices store and retrieve information.
Another significant development is in the field of Flexible Electronics. Here, flexible semiconductors have led to breakthroughs in wearable technology, healthcare devices, and more, offering unique possibilities for integrating electronics into our daily lives.
Given the vast implications and rapid developments, what might be the next big leap in semiconductor technology, and how could it reshape various sectors, including computing, transportation, energy, and healthcare?
I would like to expand on the advancements that are being pursued in the industry. There’s quite a lot of new and emerging technologies for different purposes. New transistor structure such as the one proposed by imec, the CFET, is due for a report soon by Intel and TSMC at the next International Electron Devices Meeting. New memory technologies such as the RRAM, as mentioned previously, ferroelectric memory, phase change memory, and magnetic memory are all still being worked on. On the other hand, logic devices also has its own advances such as negative capacitance devices, 2D materials and spintronics. Other well known applications are within the power electronics industry using SiC and GaN as mentioned, but other materials such as Gallium Oxide (Ga2O3), Diamond and Boron Nitride are also being studied.
I think one technology I am excited for happening is negative capacitance devices, albeit it would take some time in my opinion. The main point of these devices is that is low power, in the sense that it requires less voltage to turn on the device while reaching the same turn on current as currently used technologies. These types of devices are also called steep slope devices, describing the large increase in current relative to the small increase in voltage. This concept is not exactly foreign because another device called the Tunneling FET is also able to do this, but it relies on probability as it operates on quantum tunneling.
Negative capacitance (NC) devices are usually assigned for low power applications such as IoT in remote areas where there is a scarce or intermittent source of power. One particular application that they can be used for is Edge AI, which is essentially implementing AI in systems where data is process directly where the system is. Apologies for the long comment .
Absolutely, I agree! Exciting stuff is going on in the world of semiconductors.
Negative capacitance devices sound like the superheroes of the tech world. Low power but high impact - just like Ant-Man! Perfect for IoT, especially in remote areas. Think of them as the caring tech-nomads, always ready to help out in the most energy-efficient way.
And Edge AI? That’s like bringing Sherlock Holmes right to the crime scene - solving mysteries on the spot!
New power electronic materials are the rising stars – we’re not just sticking to SiC and GaN, but also inviting some new friends to the party, like Ga2O3, Diamond, and Boron Nitride. In the tech world, the more, the merrier!
Just came across this news while reading up on GaN semiconductors and alternative materials:
COMPOUND SEMICONDUCTOR PIONEER GAN SYSTEMS JOINS INFINEON WITH CLOSE OF $830-MILLION USD ACQUISITION
Ottawa-based chip firm GaN Systems has officially been acquired by German semiconductor giant Infineon Technologies.
The $830-million USD all-cash transaction, which was first announced in March, has now closed after the two firms received all required regulatory clearances. The acquisition represents both a major Canadian tech exit and a landmark deal for Canada’s semiconductor sector. As part of the deal, Infineon has committed to retaining and growing GaN’s presence in Canada.