At present, the United States can be said to have carried out an all-round suppression of China’s chip industry. We must admit the fact that China is still very weak in the high-end chip field. In the face of the US chip offensive, China is still in Very obvious disadvantage.
Is there a way to fully surpass the US semiconductor industry and technology? Only by ending the silicon era pioneered by the United States can we achieve a comprehensive lead in chips.
In 1958, Jack Kilby integrated five components, including germanium transistors, and made a simple integrated circuit called a phase-shift oscillator based on germanium materials, which marked The first integrated circuit in human history was born. Compared with transistors, integrated circuits have the advantages of miniaturization, high integration, low power consumption, intelligence, and high reliability, which paved the way for the development of various functions of electronic products. Road, and greatly reduced costs, made the appearance of microprocessors possible, opened a new era in the history of electronic technology, and made it possible for all electronic products we are now accustomed to.
However, the device made of germanium material has poor heat resistance and unstable operation. Germanium is a rare material, and mass production is difficult. On the basis of Jack Kilby, Robert Noyce focused directly on silicon, one of the most abundant elements on earth, with greater commercial value and lower cost.
Since then, a large number of semiconductor devices have been manufactured and commercialized. As Fairchild Semiconductor, Intel founder Noyce has set off a new electronic revolution in Silicon Valley, and this revolution soon spread Globally, semiconductor start-up companies have emerged, and more integrated circuits with stronger functions and more complex structures have been invented, and the semiconductor industry has entered the”commercial era” from the”invention era”. Silicon has also embarked on the stage of history, and Noyce has been called”the father of Silicon Valley.”
However, as the chip manufacturing process is gradually approaching its limit, silicon defects are beginning to be slowly exposed. In more and more applications that need to increase speed, reduce delay and light detection, silicon is reaching its performance Limit, The major semiconductor manufacturers have no clear answer to the trend of chips below 3 nanometers.
In fact, the chip industry has accepted the reality that the size of transistors is close to the lower limit, and has prepared for the end of Moore’s Law. Earlier this year, the Semiconductor Industry Association (Semiconductor Industry Association)-whose members include Intel, AMD and GlobalFoundries-published a report. The report claims that by 2021, the shrinking of silicon transistor size will no longer be an economically feasible thing. Instead, the chip will change in another way.
That is to seek a”millivolt switch”-a material that is no less expensive than silicon wafers in terms of calculation speed, but emits significantly less heat than silicon. At present, a new chip revolution is brewing. New materials will realize new logic, storage and interconnection concepts and devices through new physical mechanisms, and promote the innovation of the semiconductor industry. The original monopoly pattern of chip design manufacturers, chip equipment manufacturers, and wafer processing manufacturers It will be completely broken, all technological accumulation will be cleared, and the leading country will gain control of a new generation of technology.
Because scientists are not sure what materials can replace silicon, many proposals have been proposed, such as graphene, carbon nanotubes, silicon carbide, and gallium nitride. Some scientists even proposed that the silicon material should be configured in a completely new way from an architectural perspective, such as 3D:Since the circuit can be etched to the surface of the silicon plane, why not try to make it””Skyscrapers”, the thin silicon wafers whose surfaces have been etched into circuits are stacked in a three-dimensional shape?
China has proposed the use of carbon nanotubes to replace silicon. The scientific community generally believes that the material properties of carbon nanotubes are far superior to silicon materials, and the theoretical limit operating speed of carbon tube transistors is comparable to that of silicon transistors. It is 5 to 10 times faster, but the power consumption is reduced to 1/10, so it is an excellent material for transistor preparation, which is why China will study carbon nanotubes.
However, because carbon nanotubes are full of impurities, they will lose their original advantages of fast running speed, and at the same time they will increase the power consumption of transistors, completely losing competitiveness compared with traditional silicon materials. In the face of technical difficulties, many American companies chose to give up.
But the research group of Professor Peng Lianmao of Peking University in China has developed a new purification and self-assembly method to prepare high-density and high-purity semiconductor array carbon nanotube materials, and on this basis, it has achieved a performance beyond the same grid for the first time Long silicon-based CMOS technology transistors and circuits show the advantages of carbon tube electronics. The research group used multiple polymer dispersion and purification techniques to obtain ultra-high purity carbon tube solutions, combined with the dimensional limit self-arrangement method, prepared on a 4-inch substrate with a density of 120/μm, a semiconductor purity of up to 99.99995%, and a diameter distribution 1.45±0.23 nm carbon tube array, so as to meet the needs of super large-scale carbon tube integrated circuits. This also indicates that China’s carbon-based chips have the possibility of mass production. In the first echelon of the chip revolution.
Professor Peng Lianmao believes:
If China can take the lead in realizing the mass production of carbon-based chips for commercial use, then China will have a dominant advantage in the new generation of materials revolution. For example, we have been unable to manufacture EUV lithography machines in China. If China’s carbon-based chips can replace American silicon chips, the wafer production process will be different. This is another gameplay, and we can bypass EUV. Lithography machines, research and development of other equipment to manufacture and produce lithography machines, or even if lithography machines are needed, silicon-based chips with the same performance do not have such high requirements on the accuracy of lithography machines, and even the process of lithography machines The requirements are also different, then ASML’s market monopoly will be broken, and with the development of China’s technology, localization can be achieved.
It is certain that the limit of silicon chips is around 1nm, while carbon-based chips can achieve below 1nm, and the end of the silicon-based era will be a matter of time. It depends on whether China can seize the dominance. This also requires the cooperation of Chinese semiconductor companies. Only when they use carbon-based chips in practice, can carbon-based chips achieve rapid development and form a complete ecological chain.