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Compound Semiconductors Join the Race to Sustain Moore’s Law

Chip leaders fabricate silicon wafers with transistors containing exotic semiconductors

3 min read
Compound Semiconductors Join the Race to Sustain Moore’s Law
Changing the Channel: IBM engineers made transistors with indium gallium arsenide and silicon germanium components on the same silicon wafer.
Image: IBM Zurich Research Laboratory

Engineers at Imec and IBM have independently developed new manufacturing processes for making the next decade’s leading chips, they revealed late last year.

These efforts will allow the marriage of silicon wafers and certain exotic materials—compound semiconductors with ingredients from columns III and V of the old periodic table. This mixing of materials holds the key to maintaining the traditional performance improvements associated with Moore’s Law and the shrinking of transistor dimensions.

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The Transistor at 75

The past, present, and future of the modern world’s most important invention

2 min read
A photo of a birthday cake with 75 written on it.
Lisa Sheehan

Seventy-five years is a long time. It’s so long that most of us don’t remember a time before the transistor, and long enough for many engineers to have devoted entire careers to its use and development. In honor of this most important of technological achievements, this issue’s package of articles explores the transistor’s historical journey and potential future.

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