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Volume 6 Issue 2
Semiconductor Technology and Manufacturing
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Current Technologies
Future Technologies
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Intel Technical Journal
By Mark Bohr
Intel Fellow
Portland Technology Development

The semiconductor industry has made phenomenal progress since Robert Noyce invented the integrated circuit over 40 years ago. The fundamental driver has been the continued shrinking of feature sizes, allowing the exponential growth in device count that tracks the well-known Moore's Law, first formulated by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore. Shrinking feature sizes allow more transistors to be packed onto a piece of silicon, with each one running at higher speeds. This combination translates into more computing capabilities, ultimately delivering better value to the end user. This exponential trend has driven the amazing computing and communications revolution that is profoundly changing our world. By most measures, the industry has progressed further than anyone imagined even as recently as 10 years ago.

Making these increasingly dense and varied integrated circuits requires progress in many disciplines. New transistor materials and structures are required in order to meet new performance, speed and power objectives. New types of interconnect are required to speed signal transmission between devices. Lithography–the process of printing the intricate patterns on silicon–must break new barriers as feature sizes become ever smaller. Packaging also must become much more sophisticated to meet ever more stringent thermal management, power delivery, interconnect density and integration requirements. And all of these goals must be achieved in a cost-effective manner amenable to high-volume manufacturing.

Intel has been at the forefront of our industry since our founding in 1968, and today holds a leadership position with high-performance microprocessors, dense flash memories, and the ability to manufacture these very complex products in high volume. This issue of the Intel Technology Journal describes Intel's state-of-the-art logic and flash-memory technologies and how some of the key technology elements will evolve in the near future.

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