1The Nanoelectronics Roadmap

James Hutchby

Semiconductor Research Corporation, USA

1.1 Introduction

Over the past 40 years, the global impact of the computer or digital age on most individuals, cultures, and their economies, has been nothing less than breathtaking; it has shifted the communication and human interaction paradigm and has sparked creation of several major new industries. In short, electronics technology based on semiconductor devices and integrated circuits has changed how many of us live our lives and how we do our business.

For example, semiconductor device technology of the 1960s enabled development of large, centralized, power-consuming, main frame computers using discrete transistors to replace vacuum tube binary switches. The 1970s saw the advent of e-mail, desktop and portable calculators, the earliest Internet, digital watches, and the first applications of microprocessors. As complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) gates became the dominant low-power semiconductor technology in the 1980s, its explosion following Moore's Law1 [1] drove the development and broad application of personal and, later, laptop computers in the 1980s and 1990s. The world's capacity to process bits of information grew from 3.0 × 108 MIPS in 1986, to 4.4 × 109 MIPS in 1993, to 2.9 × 1011 MIPS in 2000, and to 6.4 × 1012 MIPS in 2007 [2].

Broadened commercial applications in the twenty-first century include Smart Phones, Global Positioning Satellite navigation systems, Digital ...

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