For decades, tech companies have worked to shrink microchips to fit into devices as small as a watch, an earbud, or a surgical instrument. Shrinking microchips to make them smaller often means losing space on the chip for performance and functionality, so the movement has turned to three-dimensional microchips.
With the hope to maintain efficiency, the ongoing problem with 3D chips is that they rely on traditional interconnectivity methods, including wire bonding and flip chips, to stack vertically. By trying to create a 3D integrated circuit, the stacking of the silicon wafers develops limitations.
Redesigning the microchip architecture can improve production like routing and the placement of critical building blocks within the IC. One method found to help make these improvements in the architecture of the microchip includes changing the design from the stereotypical flat (or two-dimensional design) to a 3D or layered structure.
Improving 3D Microchips with Architecture
Over time, the number of active elements within the IC has increased, making the 2D design much more challenging to keep our electronic devices working effectively and efficiently.
Now, even more, efficiency exists within a multi-planar design by having the many circuits required for the function of electronic devices printed right there on those silicon wafers. This saves the space that comes with connecting the circuits on the metal plates included in the 2D microchip.
One of the most immediate improvements to the IC or microchip is the development of a multi-layered or multi-planar design, which lies as the basis of the “three-dimensional integrated circuit.”
First, with multiple silicon planes, there is an exponentially larger amount of space for the circuits that can be included in the IC design. By taking up the same amount of space as a 2D chip, a multi-planar design can accommodate terabytes of memory instead of the gigabytes supplied using a 2D format.
The multi-dimensional IC is built on both sides of an electronic board. With the IC wafer located on all planes of the rectangular or square package, there is little area on the chip that isn’t utilized.
These changes provide exponential silicon space growth, better routing and interconnections and therefore higher performance. In addition, this concept offers much higher silicon yield and utilization, especially for memories, micro solar cells, and MEMS technology.
Advancing 3D Microchip Technology
Even more advancements than the 3D microchip are scheduled to progress the technology of today’s electronic devices. These architecture changes can improve the performance, power usage, and cost associated with manufacturing electronic devices. This results in the same advancements for device usage as well as purchase and service prices.
Current technologies significantly alleviate the disadvantages of current ICs by providing new multi-dimensional IC architecture and design. In addition, improved manufacturing allows for advanced IC memory technology. The present 3D microchip introduces a multi-dimensional, multi-planar memory structure that provides terabytes of memory where only gigabytes would be previously available.
Changing the IC architecture provides monolithic, multi-dimensional IC manufacturing, construction, and design methods applied on both sides of an electronic board and the utilization of all package planes for semiconductor circuitry. The multi-dimensional IC is built on both sides of a silicon wafer and can be applied on many planes for maximum area utilization.
In this way, microchips could be created in squares, rectangles or even honeycomb shapes that would supply more than 1,000 times the speed and memory of current chips. These types of structures enable multi-dimensional utilization of ICs for design and manufacturing processes, including advanced nanometer technologies.
Benefits of Multi-Planar 3D Technology
The newly patented 3D multi-planar design and manufacturing concept has the potential to replace traditional IC and semiconductor manufacturing processes well beyond 2nm. The 3D design promises more space on the wafer, and with that, new and improved circuits beyond the limits of 2nm.
The 3D multi-planar expands to 14nm of space, allowing for advancements in connections and wiring. It would outperform a 3nm chip 2-3 years ahead of time and give current manufacturing equipment a life extension.
The multi-dimensional memory architecture expands on the layout surface by eliminating the use of the long crossbars that create RC delays. It also can eliminate the need for unidirectional crossbars, which would immediately enhance conductor routing.
With a new crossbar architecture in varied directions (like vertical, horizontal or angled), the MIVs are minimized and work without the need for repeaters.
This technology would also increase memory size, memory speed, processing speed, and processing power to make the new generation chips more reliable, greener, and offer better solutions.
Some advancements of the multi-planar 3D microchip could improve the performance of phones and other devices while adding more advanced features. Enhanced or new features will appear in the screen, touch, solar power, ICU, increased memory, and even more circuits.
From Concept to Manufacturing
For decades the size of the IC has shrunk, but we will not be able to shrink ourselves beyond 2nm and still advance in IC technology. At this size, current IC manufacturing and design hit a wall with no replacement technology in sight.
A current industry-standard IC includes all circuits printed on flat silicon die. On a 3D IC built with multi-planar technology, all circuits are printed on multiple planes (sides). This approach offers many additional higher silicon surfaces at 14nm. And, this 3D multi-planar 14nm chip would outperform future expected 5nn and 3nm technology.
Multiple planes provide much higher silicon capacity, allowing for exponential performance increases and incredible reductions in cost. The lower cost, the technology outlook beyond 2nm, the higher performance, along with the new learned insight, would improve access, performance, and reliability of this new breed of ICs worldwide.