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  Date: 29/10/2012

Consortia working on next phase of non-CMOS switch development

While semiconductor industry is pushing the CMOS transistor to max extent, there is also alternate technology emerging to replace CMOS switch with non-CMOS logic switch. U.S. based National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has announced the selection of the Nanoelectronics Research Initiative (NRI), a collaboration of several key firms in the semiconductor industry, to support university-centered research for the development of after-the-next-generation “nanoelectronics” technology. NRI is made up of participants from the semiconductor industry, including GLOBALFOUNDRIES, IBM, Intel, Micron Technology and Texas Instruments.

NIST says one nanoelectronics approach studied by the NRI MIND center is nanomagnet logic (NML)--logic circuits that work by magnetic coupling between neighboring nanoscale magnets.

“The NRI is a model for industry-driven consortia,” said NIST Director Patrick Gallagher. “It funds a highly leveraged, coordinated nanoelectronics research program centered at leading universities in partnership with federal and state government agencies. The innovation stemming from this NIST award will enable the United States to keep our current leadership in nanoelectronics that stimulates the economy and creates high-paying jobs.”

NIST said it will provide $2.6 million to the effort for up to five years, matched by $870 thousand each year from NRI. The program funds research at university centers around the country that are working to develop the fundamental nanoscale technologies that will be needed in the future to replace the aging CMOS (“complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor”) transistor technologies at the heart of today’s state-of-the-art electronics, according to release from NIST. NIST says over the past few decades, silicon-based CMOS circuits have relentlessly followed a path of getting smaller and more complex and powerful. However, the basic underlying transistor technology is approaching physical limits.

“Continued progress by the electronics industry will require something very different. Future generations of electronics will be based on new devices and circuit architectures, operating on physical principles that cannot be exploited by conventional transistors,” said Tom Theis, director of the NRI.

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