As global chip shortage is forcing European countries to seriously consider starting chip manufacturing in Europe, the question of what semiconductor technology to invest in becomes an interesting and challenging issue to consider. The state-of-the-art nanometer size CMOS transistor design and manufacturing is mostly based on FinFET design with dimension size below 10nm reaching down to 2nm scale.
Several billion Euro need to be invested in new manufacturing plants that can produce these state-of-the-art transistors. Adding to the costs are the loyalties to be paid for manufacturing processes, further aggravated by the relative lack of know-how at such technology level.
This is a prudent time for European governments to think about proven alternative technologies that are based on novel transistors. The objective should be to identify solutions that are easier to fabricate than regular CMOS transistor at nanometer scale. These alternative paths could optimize investments needed, reduce loyalties and make specialized training more reasonable and less time consuming.
Our research at III-V technologies GmbH is focused on this area. It has developed two proven nanometer sized transistors that perform every function CMOS transistor can while their manufacturing is substantially more feasible and less expensive. One is the so-called field effect BJT (https://rdcu.be/cFwHP) that can behave as a regular MOS transistor as well as a BJT at nanometer scale. Its manufacturing process is compatible with the regular CMOS transistor but since it does not suffer from short channel effects, it is much less complicated. This transistor can not only be used in a CPU like CMOS, but also provide the analogue characteristics that are indigenous to a BJT transistor. In other words, with less manufacturing steps a nanometer transistor is produced that reaches and exceeds the performance of regular state-of-the-art CMOS.
Our other novel transistor is a modified version of JFET transistor (https://iii-v-tech.com/solutions/#improved-jfet) at nanometer scale. It is an established fact that a JFET is less noisy, consumes less power and is faster than a MOSFET. It also does not suffer from short channel effects which means it can be scaled down to nanometer regime without the need to complement its regular manufacturing steps. However, conventional JFETs are not appropriate for digital circuit applications. III-V has solved this problem with its modified JFET. This means that CPUs consuming less power and operating at higher frequencies can be manufactured with easier processing steps than regular CMOS transistor-based CPUs.
Basing the new manufacturing plants on our novel ideas equates less capital investment, reduced loyalties and less efforts for training. Our two solutions also present opportunities to design digital circuits that outperform regular CMOS circuits.
Therefore, we encourage European investors to consider alternative paths to expanding semiconductor manufacturing capacities. Our innovations are proven concepts ready to be applied in actual electronic circuits and devices.