Collaboration Seeks to Shrink Integrated Circuitry

Oct. 9, 2012
IBM, GlobalFoundries, and Intermolecular are working together to reduce circuitry layout from 45nm to 10nm.

It may still amaze you that you can do more on your smartphone today than NASA technicians could in the Apollo era, but embedded computing technologies are set to get even smaller and more powerful in the near future.

The most recent news on the ever-shrinking integrated circuit front surrounds the announcement that GlobalFoundries and IBM will be using Intermolecular's High Productivity Combinatorial (HPC) technology to speed development of semiconductor manufacturing technologies down to the 10nm node.

HPC technology, according to Intermolecular, allows more tests to be done using a single wafer. This means that experimental data on smaller integrated circuit designs can be generated and analyzed faster and more efficiently, thereby accelerating innovation in materials, processes, and device architectures.

When asked to describe the “advanced logic development” cited as being core to this collaborative research and development program, Intermolecular’s Ed Korczynski said that the project “deals with the manufacturing of semiconductor integrated circuits for logic applications such as microprocessors, microcontrollers, and systems-on-chips.” The term “advanced”, in this context, refers to use of the “smallest possible design rules to layout the circuitry, which today means moving from 45nm down to 10nm as the smallest designed feature.”

In terms of how this could impact automation technologies, consider that GlobalFoundries produces logic chips for many different end applications, including industrial-control products.

Not long ago I mentioned in my blog that a number of major developments would be announced soon on the embedded computing front that would impact automation technologies. This was not one of the announcements I was expecting, which just goes to show the level of activity happening in the embedded sector. Expect to see more embedded announcements that will impact automation coming your way soon.

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