Electronic Design

Unisantis, IME To Develop Three-Dimensional Transistor

SINGAPORE — The Institute of Microelectronics (IME) and Japanese R&D company Unisantis Electronics will co-develop the world's first three-dimensional transistor. The device, known as the Surrounding Gate Transistor (SGT), promises a significant increase in computing power, according to an IME release. Chips made with the SGT can run up to 10 times faster, will generate less heat, and will cost less than existing chips. Today's transistors are two-dimensional with horizontally-arranged components. The SGT, rather, comprises a vertical silicon pillar surrounded by memory cells, electrical contacts, and other components. This design reduces the distance that electrons must travel within the SGT, according to IME. A team of 30 researchers that includes academics, engineers, and scientists from Singapore, China, Korea, Malaysia, and Taiwan will convene in Singapore to develop the SGT. Fujio Masuoka, chief technology officer of Unisantis, will lead the project. Masouka has been working on the SGT for 20 years, and has significant expertise in semiconductor electronics. He invented the flash memory storage format that allows handheld gadgets like digital cameras and MP3 players to retain stored information even after they are switched off, according to IME. Masouka said the SGT allows further improvements in transistor size and processing speed to silicon-based semiconductors for at least 30 more years before theoretical limits are reached. "Such improvements are necessary for new-generation IC chips to meet the computing power demanded by IT products and computing networks of ever-increasing functionality and complexity," Masouka said in a statement. IME will contribute its expertise in silicon nanoelectronics research and complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) processing, as well as its state-of-the-art laboratory facilities, to the partnership. The institute has already partnered with a number of companies in developing silicon photonics, bio-electronics, MEMS devices, and radio frequency circuit design. "The collaboration with Unisantis will enable IME to utilise our expertise in silicon nanoelectronics and our state-of-the-art wafer processing facilities to realise the SGT," Kwong Dim-Lee, executive director of IME, said in a statement. Mounir Barakat, chief executive of the Unisantis Group, said incorporating IME's expertise and facilities into their research and development will allow Unisantis to "take the development of the SGT to the next level."

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