reportInformation & Communication
8.1 Executive Summary
The ICT technology sector reports address developments in nanotechnology for electronics and photonics applications. This is an area in which nanotechnology may have a very significant impact; driven by the need to enhance the performance of electronic components whilst reducing their size, and with significant scaling limits to existing technologies.
Six ICT sub-sector reports consider the development of nanotechnologies in Integrated Circuits, the ‘Beyond CMOS’ technology domain, Manufacturing Technologies, Memory, Displays, and Photonics.
Integrated Circuits focuses on short to medium-term developments based on or derived from silicon technology. These include high-k dielectrics, technology and device architectures for multi-gate and multi-channel devices, innovative solutions for the low-k / Cu interconnect scheme, and more broadly, developing a physical understanding of the limits of transistors.
The Beyond CMOS report considers long term developments of integrated circuits beyond the existing silicon CMOS paradigm. Development trends in this area include developing alternative schemes to encode information (new logic devices) to enable computing at low power consumption; inventing and developing a new information processing technology, and managing heat transfer more efficiently through phonon engineering
The Manufacturing Technologies report looks at the technologies that could be used to produce future electronic devices. The current process for integrated circuit fabrication – lithography – may be improved by immersion lithography, computational methods and extreme ultraviolet lithography. There are also a number of wholly new technologies for nanoscale fabrication, including dip-pen lithography and nano imprint lithography.
The Memory report considers efforts to develop a ‘universal memory’; one which exceeds the capacity, cost effectiveness of flash memory whilst maintaining its non-volatility, whilst also improving on the read/write speed of SRAM. Technologies include MRAM, Phase Change RAM, and NRAM.
The Displays report looks at the ways in which nanotechnology is impacting the development of displays for televisions, portable devices, and other applications. The most developed technology in this space is organic LED (OLED), but there are also near term efforts to produce thin film transistors using carbon nanotubes. Longer term development areas include technologies such as FED and SED, which utilise the field emissive properties of carbon nanotubes.
The sixth report, Photonics, addresses the development of photonic components for applications such as optical networking and photonic/electronic integration. This report also briefly covers the exciting field of plasmonics, and developments of metamaterials which demonstrate negative refraction.
These reports should be seen as an attempt to define the research agenda for the technological development of ICT in the next three years of the ObservatoryNano project. Any comments or additions are gratefully received.
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