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SIA: US Could Lose Nanotech Race

Photonics.com
Mar 2005
SAN JOSE, Calif., March 18 -- With the upcoming transition to nanoscale semiconductor devices, leadership in information technology is up for grabs, warned the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) at a news conference this week in Washington.

SIA members called for stepped-up support for basic research in the physical sciences to assure continued US technology leadership. They said current semiconductor technology could run up against physical, technological and economic limits around 2020.

"US leadership in the nanoelectronics era is not guaranteed," said Craig Barrett, CEO of Intel Corp. "It will take a massive, coordinated US research effort involving academia, industry and state and federal governments to ensure that America continues to be the world leader in information technology,"

He said, "America must decide to compete. If we don't compete and win, there will be very serious consequences for our standard of living and national security in the future."

Barrett said scientists believe current CMOS scaling to support Moore's Law can remain in effect for at least another 10 to 15 years.

"When the smallest features on a chip shrink to less than 10 nanometers (10 one-billionths of a meter), current chipmaking technology will reach its ultimate limits," Barrett said. "To keep Moore's Law alive, the industry will have to leave Newtonian physics behind and transition to the realm of quantum physics -- the era of nanotechnology."

Moore's Law is the observation made in 1965 by Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel, that the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits had doubled every year since the integrated circuit was invented. Moore predicted the trend would continue for the foreseeable future.

Also speaking at the news conference were Steve Appleton, CEO of Micron Technology and 2005 chairman of the SIA; Harvard University economics professor Dale Jorgenson; and George Scalise, president of SIA. They said four decades of continuous advances in microchip technology have led to the creation of entirely new industries -- including personal computers, the Internet and cellular telephones -- while enabling major advances in biotechnology, medicine and environmental protection. They stressed the importance of continued progress and leadership in semiconductor technology.

SIA leaders will be calling on legislative and executive branch leaders to support increasing research budgets for the physical sciences in the National Science Foundation , the National Institute for Standards and Technology and the Department of Defense.

For more information, visit: www.sia-online.org



GLOSSARY
nanotechnology
The use of atoms, molecules and molecular-scale structures to enhance existing technology and develop new materials and devices. The goal of this technology is to manipulate atomic and molecular particles to create devices that are thousands of times smaller and faster than those of the current microtechnologies.
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