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Design Challenges Loom for 3-D Chips

Through-silicon vias promise smaller, smarter chips--but not yet

4 min read

17 February 2010—Three-dimensional microchip designs are making their way to market to help pack more transistors on a chip as traditional scaling slows down. By stacking logic chips on top of one another other or combining logic chips with memory or RF with logic, chipmakers hope to sidestep Moore's Law, increasing the functionality of smartphones and other gadgets not by shrinking a chip's transistors but the distance between them.

"There's a big demand for smaller packages in the consumer market, especially for the footprint of a mobile phone, or for improving the memory bandwidth of your GPU," says Pol Marchal, a principal scientist of 3-D integration at European microelectronics R&D center Imec.

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The Transistor at 75

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

1 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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