Transistor wafer process technology promises to slash lead times, wafer area and process layers

22-10-2019 | Search For The Next | New Technologies

A UK collaboration between Search For The Next and Semefab might be set to disrupt the semiconductor industry by executing a fundamental change at transistor level stretching back five decades to the early bipolar IC era before CMOS became mainstream, utilising a new process called Bizen. Bizen employs the principles of quantum tunnel mechanics to any computing or power technology. When compared to CMOS, Bizen provides a five-fold lead time reduction - down from 15 to only three weeks. Furthermore, the new process produces a three-fold increase in gate density that provides a matching three-fold reduction in die size. Finally, process halves the quantity of process layers needed. All this is accomplished while matching or bettering the speed and low power abilities provided by current CMOS devices.

David Summerland, CEO SFN explains: “The CMOS processing industry is hitting a brick wall as shrinking geometries bash up against the laws of physics. We went back to the very beginning and found a way to commercialize quantum tunnel mechanics in silicon or wide bandgap device manufacture. The result is ‘Bizen’ – Bipolar/Zener – which retains the advantages of traditional bipolar processing yet removes the disadvantages by using Zener quantum tunnel mechanics. This results in lower dynamic power, higher speed and higher gate density, halving the number of process layers required, reducing material use by two thirds, and slashing manufacturing time. This allows any fab, such as Semefab (Si), Plessey (GaN) or Newport (Compound) or to become a category killer.”

He continued: “Other ‘CMOS-alternatives’ such as metal air gap and MESO are, we understand, some way from being commercialised in standard fabs and adding analogue and power would incur extra cost. Bizen reduces cost and also targets bottlenecks.”

James concluded: “If Bizen had been discovered back in the late 60's when the transition from Bipolar to MOS and CMOS took place in order to cost-effectively integrate logic functions, it is possible that the industry may have developed strongly in the direction we are now proposing. It is not too late however, and if it can be adopted by the industry, an important prize given the reduction in die area at a given technology node comparing a Bizen and CMOS logic implementation would be the ability to wind back the Moores’ Law clock by 10 years or more and bring many wafer fabs back into mainstream manufacture. There is still a way to go before Bizen becomes a commercial reality and we are still learning, however Semefab and SFN are working flat out to make it the huge success it may soon become."

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