Over the next decade, semiconductor chip technology will catalyse a revolutionary change in how energy is generated, distributed and consumed. Chip technology will help to reduce losses in power generation and distribution, losses in consumption and will contribute in rendering “renewable” energy sources (solar, wind, geothermal, biological) technically and economically feasible. Since 1978, integrated circuits (ICs) have helped to improve the efficiency of cars by 40%, passenger planes by 121%, lighting by 339% and computer systems by nearly 3,000,000%.
Currently, 3-D ICs are at the forefront to increase data transfer rates beyond 1,333 Megabyte per second (Mbps DIMM). 3-D circuit integration technology is based on vertically stacked ICs with dense 3-D vias for electrical interconnections. The tiers are bonded and interconnected with tungsten plugs. Shorter interconnect lengths lead to improvements in latency, power consumption and memory bandwidth.
This new generation of 3-D ICs was recently commercialised in the form of CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor) image sensors (CIS). Around 2011, DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory) devices will follow.