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The Semiconductor Industry Association unveiled a research program aimed to link governmental and private activities in research of materials, structures and manufacturing technologies for semiconductors with sub-10nm feature size. Under the new initiative the SIA is expected to ask US govt for subsidies of universities conducting sub-10nm researches.

“We are rapidly approaching the time when the laws of physics will limit our implementation of Moore’s Law. Most scientists now agree that our ability to continue the scaling of CMOS technology – the dominant technology of the semiconductor industry for the past 20 years – will reach its ultimate limit sometime before 2020. We are now in a worldwide race to develop new technologies that will enable progress in semiconductor devices to continue at the pace we have seen for nearly 40 years. The Nanoelectronics Research Initiative (NRI) will attempt to link research efforts by leading universities, the federal government, and the US semiconductor industry in a mission-oriented effort to continue the rate of progress that has prevailed since the mid 1960s,” said SIA President George Scalise.

The SIA said the NRI will bring universities, the federal government and the US semiconductor industry together to conduct research on materials, device structures and assembly methods for microelectronic devices with feature sizes smaller than 10 nanometers.

Currently SIA is in the very early stages of launching the NRI. The first thing the organization should do is to get consensus among all parties on defining and prioritizing the specific technical challenges on which to focus research. The SIA execs say that the only certain thing at this point is that the existing technology, materials and production methods will not work when feature sizes must be smaller than 10nm

While SIA emphasizes that it is not proposing federal subsidies for chipmakers, but calls for support of university-based research in addressing “basic scientific challenges”. This ensures, SIA says, that the USA will stay on the forefront of semiconductor technologies development, which will ensure further economic prosperity.

The SIA represents US semiconductor companies since 1977 and SIA member companies comprise more than 85% of the US semiconductor industry. Companies like IBM, Intel, AMD and other participate in the SIA. While all of those companies afford their own research and development teams, including those conducting fundamental researches, offloading certain parts of such expenses on universities is a logical way for them to explore a totally unknown and very expensive ground while keeping R&D costs at reasonable level.

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