Chapter 2: From Microelectronics to Nanoelectronics
We highlight key events in over 100 years of electronic amplifiers and their incorporation in computers and communication in order to appreciate the electron as man’s most powerful token of information. We recognize that it has taken about 25 years or almost a generation for inventions to make it into new products, and that, within these periods, it still took major campaigns, like the Sputnik effect or what we shall call 10x programs, to achieve major technology steps. From Lilienfeld’s invention 1926 of the solid-state field-effect triode to its realization 1959 in Kahng’s MOS field-effect transistor, it took 33 years, and this pivotal year also saw the first planar integrated silicon circuit as patented by Noyce. This birth of the integrated microchip launched the unparalleled exponential growth of microelectronics with many great milestones. Among these, we point out the 3D integration of CMOS transistors by Gibbons in 1979 and the related Japanese program on Future Electron Devices (FED). The 3D domain has finally arrived as a broad development since 2005. Consecutively, we mark the neural networks on- chip of 1989 by Mead and others, now, 20 years later, a major project by DARPA. We highlight cooperatives like SRC and SEMATECH, their impact on progress and more recent nanoelectronic milestones until 2010.