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Taiwan team lays groundwork for new IC manufacturing breakthrough

2018/11/21 18:18:55

Taipei, Nov. 21 (CNA) A research team from Taiwan has extended and potentially laid the groundwork for going beyond Moore's law with a monolayer diode, which could lead to a major breakthrough in the semiconductor industry, according to the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) at a press conference Wednesday.

Supported by MOST, National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) and National Synchrotron Radiation Research Center (NSRRC), a research team headed by NCKU Professor Wu Chung-lin (吳忠霖) and NSRRC Assistant Scientist Chen Chia-hao (陳家浩), developed a two-dimensional (2D) monolayer diode and published its research results in Nature Communications on August 7.

MOST said the electrodes of the new diode are made of 2D nonmetallic elements Tungsten diselenide and graphene, which demonstrate great semiconducting transition in an atomic monolayer that is only 0.7 nanometer (nm) wide.

Compared to common silicon semiconductors, where transistor channel size has hit a hard limit at a width of 3 nm, the monolayer diode is thinner, smaller, and faster. As a result, it has the potential to move beyond Moore's law and meet the manufacturing needs of a new generation of energy-saving integrated circuits (IC), MOST added.

Moore's Law predicts that the number of transistors on a chip doubles roughly every 18 to 24 months and was proposed by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore in 1965, since when it has been a guiding principle in the development of the computer chip industry.

However, in recent years the physical limit has been reached in transistor channel size and the consequent challenges faced by the semiconductor industry have given rise to questions as to whether the speed of innovation suggested by Moore's Law might have come to an end.

Morris Chang (張忠謀), founder of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), said in 2017 that the law is likely to remain relevant for another 10 years.

(By Pan Tzu-yu and Chi Jo-yao)
Enditem/AW