In pursuing Moore’s Law, Intel has unveiled key packaging, transistor and quantum physics breakthroughs fundamental to advancing and accelerating computing. At the IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) 2021, Intel has revealed breakthroughs that demonstrate Intel being on track to continue the advancement and benefits of Moore’s Law beyond 2025 through its three areas of pathfinding.
Research in scaling technologies to deliver more transistors in future product offerings: Intel has outlined solutions for the process, design, and assembly challenges of hybrid bonding interconnect, envisioning over 10x interconnect density improvement in packaging. In July, Intel introduced Foveros Direct, enabling sub-10-micron bump pitches, providing an order of magnitude increase in the interconnect density for 3D stacking. Intel is also mastering the post-FinFET era with an approach to stacking multiple (CMOS) transistors with the aim of achieving maximized 30% to 50% logic scaling improvement.
Intel is also working on novel materials that are a few atoms thick to make transistors that can overcome the limitations of silicon channels.
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Bringing new capabilities to silicon: Efficient power technologies are advancing through the world’s first integration of GaN-based power switches with silicon-based CMOS on a 300 mm wafer. This has set the stage for high-speed power and low-loss delivery to CPUs that simultaneously reduces motherboard components and space. Intel’s low-latency read/write capabilities is also another advancement that used novel ferroelectric materials for possible next-generation embedded DRAM technology. It can deliver greater memory resources and address the growing complexity of computing applications, from gaming to AI.
Silicon transistor-based quantum computing and new switches for energy-efficient computing: At IEDM 2021, Intel demonstrated the realization of a magnetoelectric spin-orbit (MESO) logic device at room temperature. This showed the potential manufacturability for a new type of transistor based on switching nanoscale magnets. Intel and IMEC are also making progress with spintronic materials research to take device integration research close to realizing a fully functional spin-torque device. Intel also showcased full 300 mm qubit process flows for the realization of scalable quantum computing that is compatible with CMOS manufacturing and identifies the next steps for future research.
The innovations that broke through previous barriers of Moore’s Law and are currently in products include strained silicon, FinFET transistors, RibbonFET, Hi-K metal gates, and packaging innovations including, Foveros Direct and EMIB.