Microelectronics relates to the study and manufacture of very small electronic designs and components. It means micrometre-scale or smaller. These devices are typically made from semiconductor materials. The circuit design is microelectronic equivalent. The design includes diodes, transistors, resistors, capacitors, inductors conductors. The wire bonding is used in microelectronics because of the small size of the components, leads and pads.

The leading semiconductor manufacturing companies are producing 4Mbit and 16Mbit DRAM’S and logic ICs with critical dimensions of 0.7 pm and 0.5 pm respectively. The companies concentrating on 64 Mbit and 256 Mbit DRAM structures and the corresponding logic circuits. 64 Mbit is entering the pre-production phase. Fully functional samples of the 256 Mbit are available in stacked as well as in trench concepts.

The Microelectronics Design Challenges:

  • Low Power dissipation becomes the technical challenge. Power dissipation of today’s IC’s have to be reduced in order to allow full portability of the electronic devices (in the year 2000 about 50% of the electronic devices are forecasted to be portable). The extensive use of competent simulation tools indicate that today’s CMOS structures can be scaled down to about 20 nm without reaching their functional limit. The possibility of having on chip memory and logic will lead to rationalized board solutions of today’s products.
  • Smart accelerated fabrication & development becomes the economical challenge. To meet this economical challenge, smart fabrication and embedded simulation schemes are to be developed for cost-effectiveness on all levels of activities.
  • Integrated Computer aided technology systems from physics to economics become crucial. The increased level of complexity requires solutions on higher abstraction levels. The aid of computers and tools are needed from physical via electrical to economical topics: e.g. equipment, process, device, circuit and logic simulation, accelerated yield learning, cost simulation, yield prediction and management tools.
  • Interdisciplinary creativity becomes technology challenge. The cost reduction and miniaturization of communication technologies, such as the decentralization and networking of ‘computer intelligence’.  The computational power will lead to the redefinition of a new powerful technique in communication, data and consumer industry. For example, Television will get ‘intelligence’ and communication capabilities, the phone will be upgraded by ‘intelligence’, like displays and portability, whereas the computer will get additional features like communication, interactivity and portability.
  • Finally the Research & Development is pressured by brute force to achieve the results, which implies that further progress needs material innovations and performance migration.


EEE Department