Integrated Circuits

Prof Makoto Ikeda (Visiting Scholar at Cavendish Laboratory)

Saturday, 01 December, 2001; 7:30-9:30pm

Chetwynd Room, King's College

More than two thousand times improvement in speed and about million times improvement in performance in the past 30 years: Integrated circuits(IC, more commonly called LSI: Large Scale Integrated circuits) have been innovatively progressing not only supporting progress of informatics and communications, which are so easily called IT now-a-days, but also driven by strong demand from them. Due to the enormous progress, people are afraid of hitting walls, several severe problems to be solved within very near future, such like "Physical limits", "Design crisis" and "Recession of semiconductor manufacturing." In this talk, I will focus on the following topics from the aspects of design techniques of ICs; * What is IC? How to make(fabricate) it? How it operates? ICs are made of semiconductor (mainly silicon) chips, on which various circuits are integrated. Chips are normally packed into various type of packages. Chips are cutted from wafers, where the same chip patterns are repeated. Wafars are patterned by printing-like technique. Patterns are designed. * How to design IC? Now we use many CAD(computer aided design) tools to design it and evaluate (simulate, sometimes emulate) it before fabrication. * How IC has been progressing? Most of improvements are coming from so-called "scaling." The less the size is, the more the speed is, the less costs, etc. Also many design methodologies supported this progress. * What are the "LIMITS" we are/will be confronted with? Physical limits: From extrapolation of progress up to now, quantities of ICs will soon become an order of atoms or less, --- number of electrons used for maintain datas in memory, --- dimensions of structures etc.... Design Crisis: How to manage to design bilions of elements? Cost: ..... Are there any solutions for them?????