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Silicon Process and Manufacturing Technology Evolution: An overview of advancements in chip making.

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1 Author(s)
Zhang, L. ; Nvidia Corp., Santa Clara, CA, USA

Silicon process technology is the dominant technology for the fabrication of a majority of the consumer electronics chips that are the building blocks of smartphones, tablets, microcontrollers, data converters, power management chips, and computers [1]. The functional block diagram of the silicon chips for a typical smartphone is shown in Figure 1: the applications processors, FLASH memory, power and battery management, touch-screen drivers, the 2G/3G/4G long-term evolution radio-frequency transceiver, the baseband modem, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS chips, audio CODEC, and CMOS image sensors, among others. The exception to this may be the power amplifier, which is still mainly fabricated by the gallium arsenide (GaAs) bipolar process as a niche area in the chip industry. Since the invention of the integrated circuit and the metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET), the silicon process for making transistors and chips has become the driving force for the chip industry. The evolution of the cell phone and computers is intrinsically linked to the evolution of the silicon fabrication process advancement.

Published in:

Consumer Electronics Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:3 ,  Issue: 3 )