The semiconductor industry benefitted from roadmap guidance since the mid-60s. The roadmap
anticipated and outlined the main needs of the semiconductor industry for years to come and identified
future challenges and possible solutions. Making transistor smaller by means of advanced lithographic
technologies enabled both increased integration levels and improved IC performance. The roadmap
methodology allowed the removal of multiple “red brick walls”. The NTRS and the ITRS constituted
primarily a “bottom up” approach as standard microprocessors and memories where introduced at a
blistering pace barely allowing time for system houses to integrate them in their products. The 1998
ITRS provided the vision that triggered research, development and manufacturing communities to
develop a completely new transistor structure in addition to replacing aluminum interconnects with a
more advanced technology. The advent of Foundries and Fabless companies transformed the electronics
industry into a “top down” driven industry in the past 15 years. The ITRS adjusted to this new
ecosystem and morphed into the International Roadmap for Devices and Systems (IRDS) sponsored by
IEEE. The IRDS is addressing the requirements and needs of the renewed electronics industry.
Furthermore, by the middle of the next decade the ability to layout integrated circuits in a 2D geometry
grid will reach fundamental physical limits and the aggressive conversion to 3D architecture for
integrated circuit must be pursued across the board as an avenue to continuously increasing transistor
count and improving performance. EUV technology is finally approaching the manufacturing stage but
with the advent of 3D monolithically integrated heterogeneous circuits approaching in the not-toodistant
future should the semiconductor industry concentrate its resources on the next lithographic
technology generation in order to enhance resolution or on providing a smooth transition to the new
revolutionary 3D architecture of integrated circuits? It is essential for the whole semiconductor industry
to come together and make fundamental choices leading to a cooperative and synchronized allocation of
adequate resources to produce viable solutions that once introduced in a timely manner into
manufacturing will enable the continuation of the growth of the electronic industry at a pace
comparable or exceeding historical trends.
Paolo A. Gargini, "Roadmap evolution: from NTRS to ITRS, from ITRS 2.0 to IRDS," Proc. SPIE 10450, International Conference on Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography 2017, 1045018 (Presented at SPIE Photomask Technology and EUV Lithography: September 14, 2017; Published: 16 October 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2280803.
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