With double-gate transistors becoming a serious candidate for the 45-nm technology node, Freescale Semiconductor (distributed by Arrow ) and the University of Florida have created what they claim is the first double-gate transistor model.
The technology is expected to allow development of customer applications such as smaller, lighter portable devices with longer battery life, as well as faster computing devices that can handle growing graphic, video, voice and data processing requirements, the two parties said.
The double-gate transistor version of interest to Austin-based Freescale, called FinFET, was engineered to pack more computing power into less space and reduce power consumption, while using existing semiconductor manufacturing processes.
The relentless drive to put more MOSFET transistors on a silicon chip by shrinking the dimensions of the transistors commonly referred to as Moore’s Law, faces increasing obstacles with continued shrinkage of conventional planar transistors.
This is due to the difficulty of maintaining control of charge carriers moving through the transistor when using only a single gate. The double-gate transistor mitigates this difficulty by introducing an additional gate to enhance control, allowing for continued shrinkage.
In order to design a silicon chip using double-gate FinFET transistors, an adequate model of the transistor’s electrical behaviour is required to simulate the intricate and highly complex circuitry on the chip.
The double-gate transistor model developed by Freescale and the University of Florida opens the door for the design of new generations of novel microchips that will take advantage of the improved control, the duo said.
While the software model developed with the University of Florida moves the technology one step closer to commercialisation, designers can now use it to develop end-user products, Freescale and the university confirmed.
“For the first time, the worlds of silicon technology and circuit design for the new breed of transistors have been successfully bridged,” says Jerry Fossum, professor at the University of Florida, in a statement. “We’ve been in collaboration with Freescale on the new technologies for five years and we hope that this breakthrough and expanded collaboration will open doors to new discoveries within them.”
Additionally, Freescale is driving licensing of the University of Florida’s double-gate models.
“Freescale’s licence to third parties allows circuit designers to get an early look into the new double-gate devices and enable the creation of novel circuits using these models,” explains Claudine Simson, CTO at Freescale, in the statement. “Our collaboration with the University of Florida further strengthens Freescale’s already strong IP portfolio in the field of multiple-gate MOSFET technologies.”