New Developments in Microelectronics

Microelectronics has a significant impact on regular life as it bridges the gap between the discovery science and understanding how to advance microelectronics and introduce new technologies into the lab and the marketplace.

FREMONT, CA:Microelectronic devices are an important component from running a small business to driving the global economy, from tracking personal health to fighting a pandemic, to distributing power to homes and securing the nation's infrastructure. Microelectronics include computer chips, power electronics like those controlling electricity, and other small semiconductor devices.

Countries are working to develop and demonstrate scientific advancements in microelectronics. Many have created a microelectronics initiative to stimulate innovation as the foundation for future domestic technology development and manufacturing. Microelectronics projects will support more powerful supercomputing capabilities, explore new materials and fabrication methods, encourage advanced computing architectures, and stimulate research and development for a range of microelectronics.

The semiconductor industry has shrunk the size of transistors from micrometres to nanometers. Smartphones have become more powerful than supercomputers. Most computer processors are based on the old model, and the processing unit in them is separate but connected to a memory unit, which requires instructions from the processing unit and data from the memory unit to be shuffled back and forth during computation.

This extended data movement intakes energy and creates heat. For supercomputing and data centres, this indicated building costly power and cooling infrastructures. For scientists wanting to analyse huge amounts of data in real time during experiments, memory access, capacity, and other data bottlenecks are exhausting roadblocks to scientific discovery.

There is also research conducted to develop new computing models, including neuromorphic computing, mimicking how the brain works, and quantum computing, leveraging the physics of quantum mechanics to solve new types of complex problems. Data-driven software programmes in artificial intelligence and quantum information science will benefit from these new architectures designed for their special purposes.

Microelectronics will be the key to adding more renewable energy sources, protecting against cyber attacks, and introducing a two-way flow of electricity between the consumer and the grid to optimise use. Scientists are planning for how future microelectronics will improve research. Energy-efficient, data-nimble microelectronics will enable researchers to collect and analyse more data faster, using devices closer to experimental setups.

The key to accomplishing all this requires a collaborative co-design approach bringing together experts from the beginning to the end of the microelectronics pipeline. Earlier, each step in the R&D process was carried out independently. However, through co-design, researchers will leverage materials and chemical scientists, mathematicians, computer engineers, industry partners, and others to work together to inform each step of the process and innovate better and faster.

Knowing the significant impact that microelectronics has on our lives today, it is important to prepare this technology for the future. Microelectronics projects will help bridge the gap between discovery science and understanding how to advance microelectronics and introduce these new technologies into the lab and the marketplace.