Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > 45-nanometre chips for ultra-fast WiFi

Abstract:
Powerful new radio technologies that promise blisteringly fast WiFi have been given a boost by a team of European researchers' cutting-edge work on miniscule microchips.

45-nanometre chips for ultra-fast WiFi

Posted on July 29th, 2009

The work, led by Belgian-based nanotechnology research group IMEC, has proven the potential for 45 nanometre-scale chips to be used for radio frequency (RF) applications that require high speed and low power consumption.

The Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) chips, made using a 45nm circuit etching process, are the newest and smallest generation of integrated circuits to be produced commercially and are already found in some ultra-high performance computer processors.

"However, the evaluation of successive generations of CMOS chips for analogue and RF applications typically tends to lag behind their use for digital processing, despite the important applications for them," says Stefaan Decoutere, an electrical engineer at IMEC.

That is where a team of researchers from IMEC, Infineon Technologies, Philips Electronics, Sweden's Chalmers University and Belgium's KUL (Catholic University Leuven) stepped in. Led by Decoutere, they carried out groundbreaking validation, modelling and optimisation work on 45nm CMOS for RF and analogue applications, creating some of the world's first functioning sub-circuits using the technology and proving its potential for ultra-wide band wireless communications at frequencies above 60 gigahertz. Their research was partially funded by the European Union in the NANO-RF project.

"When we started our research three years ago we did not know what the technology would look like, not least because there were many challenges to overcome when it came to improving upon the performance of the 90nm generation of CMOS," Decoutere explains.

However, scaling down CMOS chips remains crucial to ongoing improvements in RF and analogue technologies. That echoes chip scaling in the digital domain where Moore's Law predicts that the number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit will lead to a doubling of computer processing power approximately every two years.

For example, different wireless technologies, from WiFi and Bluetooth to the UMTS and CDMA mobile standards, mean that smart phones have to have a variety of radios in them to pick up the different signals in different frequency ranges.

Smaller, faster and less power-hungry chips mean that more radios can be packed into the same sized device, increasing functionality and performance while extending battery life.

In Decoutere's view, mobile phones and similar communications devices are likely to gain most from work on 45nm CMOS. However, the NANO-RF team also proved the potential for 45nm CMOS to be an enabling technology for the next generation of wireless communications in its own right.

Streaming HD video

One of the team's key breakthroughs was the validation of 45nm CMOS for radio communications at the 60GHz frequency, a form of ultra-wide band WiFi that will enable high-definition video to be streamed at speeds of several gigabits per second over short distances.

"We showed that, in the long run, 45nm CMOS is the technology of choice for 60GHz radio, compared to the silicon germanium (SiGe) transistor technology that was demonstrated by IBM a few years ago. The key difference with our approach is the CMOS is the high-speed device, whereas with SiGe the high-speed device must be added to the CMOS - that adds to the complexity and increases the cost," Decoutere notes.

IMEC presented some of the results of the 45nm CMOS research at the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco in February, unveiling a 60GHz front-end receive chain, phase-locked loop and power amplifier, among other devices. The Belgian group envisions those building blocks leading to commercial 60GHz radios by 2010 that rely solely on CMOS.

At higher frequencies, project partner Infineon investigated whether 45nm CMOS could be used for emerging 77GHz in-car radar and collision-avoidance systems that promise to dramatically improve road safety. That application - as well as others, such as medical imaging, air traffic control and industrial process control - is being explored by Infineon and IMEC as part of the EU-funded DOTFIVE project.

From 45nm to 22...

As new applications emerge and performance demands increase, further CMOS scaling will be required. That, in turn, is likely to necessitate the adoption of different chip production techniques from the planar, or layer-by-layer, manufacturing process used to make most CMOS chips today.

With that in mind, Decoutere's team carried out groundbreaking research on 45nm CMOS built using FinFETs, a type of multigate field effect transistor in which the conducting channel is wrapped around a thin silicon fin.

"To our knowledge, the consortium has created the first complex sub-circuits in FinFET CMOS technology, proving that it is a viable contender [to planar CMOS] for RF applications beyond 45nm," Decoutere explains. "The findings are very important to our industrial partners in preparing for future scaling demands," he adds.

Having optimised 45nm CMOS for RF applications, the team behind the NANO-RF project are now turning their sights to successive generations of chips.

"We are now looking to 22nm, skipping the 32nm scale which is just a scaling down of the work we have already done. 22nm offers new challenges. For us it has to be disruptive, it has to be significantly different," Decoutere says.

The NANO-RF project received funding from the ICT strand of the EU's Sixth Framework Programme for research.

####

About ICT Results
ICT Results is an editorial service created for the European Commission to showcase EU-funded ICT research and activities.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
The ICT Information Desk Office
BU25 02/160
B-1049 Brussels, Belgium
Fax: +32 2 296 83 88

Copyright © ICT Results

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

NANO-RF project

Related News Press

News and information

Springer and Tsinghua University Press present the second Nano Research Award: Paul Alivisatos of the University of California Berkeley receives the honor for outstanding contributions in nanoscience July 30th, 2015

European Technology Platform for Nanomedicine and ENATRANS European Consortium Launch the 2nd edition of the Nanomedicine Award: The Award to be presented at BIO-Europe conference in Munich, November 2015 July 30th, 2015

Take a trip through the brain July 30th, 2015

This could replace your silicon computer chips: A new semiconductor material made from black phosphorus may be a candidate to replace silicon in future tech July 30th, 2015

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

IEEE Photonics Society Applauds Rochester on Integrated Photonics Institute Win July 30th, 2015

Springer and Tsinghua University Press present the second Nano Research Award: Paul Alivisatos of the University of California Berkeley receives the honor for outstanding contributions in nanoscience July 30th, 2015

European Technology Platform for Nanomedicine and ENATRANS European Consortium Launch the 2nd edition of the Nanomedicine Award: The Award to be presented at BIO-Europe conference in Munich, November 2015 July 30th, 2015

Take a trip through the brain July 30th, 2015

Possible Futures

This could replace your silicon computer chips: A new semiconductor material made from black phosphorus may be a candidate to replace silicon in future tech July 30th, 2015

Smaller, faster, cheaper: A new type of modulator for the future of data transmission July 27th, 2015

Researchers predict material with record-setting melting point July 27th, 2015

Global Corrosion Resistant Nano Coatings Market To 2015: Acute Market Reports July 27th, 2015

Chip Technology

This could replace your silicon computer chips: A new semiconductor material made from black phosphorus may be a candidate to replace silicon in future tech July 30th, 2015

March 2016; 6th Int'l Conference on Nanostructures in Iran July 29th, 2015

Meet the high-performance single-molecule diode: Major milestone in molecular electronics scored by Berkeley Lab and Columbia University team July 29th, 2015

Short wavelength plasmons observed in nanotubes: Berkeley Lab researchers create Ludinger liquid plasmons in metallic SWNTs July 28th, 2015

Nanoelectronics

Superfast fluorescence sets new speed record: Plasmonic device has speed and efficiency to serve optical computers July 27th, 2015

Spintronics: Molecules stabilizing magnetism: Organic molecules fixing the magnetic orientation of a cobalt surface/ building block for a compact and low-cost storage technology/ publication in Nature Materials July 25th, 2015

ORNL researchers make scalable arrays of 'building blocks' for ultrathin electronics July 22nd, 2015

An easy, scalable and direct method for synthesizing graphene in silicon microelectronics: Korean researchers grow 4-inch diameter, high-quality, multi-layer graphene on desired silicon substrates, an important step for harnessing graphene in commercial silicon microelectronics July 21st, 2015

Announcements

Take a trip through the brain July 30th, 2015

This could replace your silicon computer chips: A new semiconductor material made from black phosphorus may be a candidate to replace silicon in future tech July 30th, 2015

Sol-gel capacitor dielectric offers record-high energy storage July 30th, 2015

Controlling Dynamic Behavior of Carbon Nanosheets in Structures Made Possible July 30th, 2015

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project