The fifth annual CS International Conference, 2015 edition, was held in Frankfurt, Germany, March 11-12, 2015. Very conveniently located in the Sheraton Frankfurt Airport Hotel & Conference Center, just steps away from where I deplaned in Frankfurt after my flight from Dulles. Over the course of its 2 days, CS International 2015, offered 6 major themes, spread over 37 individual presentations, along with an exhibitor hall, an industry awards segment, and an evening networking buffet. Prost!
In attendance were representatives from something like 170 different companies, coming from 20 assorted countries, combining for a total of over 300 industry innovators assembled to hear the latest about solid-state lighting, power electronics, front-end mobiles, optoelectronics, III-V CMOS, and RF electronics.
I came for the heterointegration story, which was featured front and center, either directly in talk titles, for example High performance GaN-on-silicon power epiwafers employing rare earth oxide buffer layers, Andrew Clark, Translucent, Inc.; Cutting conversion losses with cost-efficient GaN-on-silicon, Marianne Germain, EpiGaN nv; When will III-Vs make an impact in the silicon foundries? And how long will it last? Michael Corbett, Linx Consulting; and, dead giveaway, Heterogeneous integration of III-Vs and CMOS, Daniel Green, DARPA; or was featured more subtly, as mentions embedded in presentation after presentation, given a nod by speaker after speaker.
The heterointegration flag was prominent among the many other flags flying at CS International 2015, and I heard more about Moore’s Law than I ever expected to at a compound semiconductor conference, III-Vs being, per Professor Jesus del Amano, MIT, an essential path forward for future logic applications in what we think of as the silicon-centric Moore’s Law world.
Imagine that – InGaAs FETs, and heterogeneous integration will keep silicon magic alive. But you maybe already knew that if you have been following 3D+ all along.
(On a related note, keeping silicon magic alive will also be discussed by panelists from DARPA, GE Global Research, Lam Research, Silicon Advisors, and Rochester Institute of Technology at the SEMI Advanced Semiconductor Manufacturing Conference 2015. See you in Saratoga Springs, NY, the first week of May!)
I am going in for a deeper dive in the III-Vs and CMOS pool in my next post for 3D+; for here, now, I’d like you to hear some of the best soundbites from CS International 2015, the ones that resonated with me and will, I hope, also resonate with you.
The world needs to “become more spectrally efficient,” says Eric Higham, Strategy Analytics, about the “RF Challenge” (mobile data consumption is increasing faster than any other data segment, and wireless spectrum is a scarce…and an expensive resource).
“CMOS always wins,” in the eyes of Jim Cable, Peregrine Semiconductor, talking about Peregrine’s CMOS-based RF switches and echoing the CMOS thinking of Asif Anwar, Strategy Analytics, from another compound semiconductor event some years ago.
“No,” countered Sean Riley, Qorvo (the new entity formed from the combination of RF Micro Devices and TriQuint), “Performance will win,” in regards to next-generation mobile devices and network infrastructure; increases in mobile data throughput will be achieved with enhancements in RF performance, with those enhancements coming from III-V components or from silicon, whichever is the performance winner.
You have to admire a company, Skyworks, that lives by the maxim that “cost is everything, reliability is non-negotiable,” as espoused by Ed Anthony in his talk on Improving system level integration and overall efficiency. No wonder they are doing so well. Oh, and about RF switches, says Ed, maybe it’s MEMS on CMOS (heterointegration!) that’s actually the best solution, once the costs come down.
Here’s some out-of-the-box thinking: “The best way to get rid of reliability problems with the package is to get rid of the package.” (Alex Lidow, Efficient Power Conversion Corporation, talking about GaN-on-silicon power devices.) “Crystals don’t fail – packages fail.”
“GaN-on-silicon is great, except that it’s on silicon.” (Andrew Clark, Translucent Inc.)
“Remember when “the transistor was sacred”? Michael Corbett, Linx Consulting, does, referring to when we first started mucking about with transistors in High k metal gate (HKMG) processes, a mucking about which will continue with the implementation of high mobility channels using heterointegration processing; but, beware, “High mobility heterointegration is not a drop-in process.”
Is it a matter of “best tech for the spec,” or is it a matter of the “best junction for the function?” Daniel Green, DARPA, has eyes on both, working on the 3D intimate heterogeneous integration of III-Vs with trailing-edge CMOS.
And, near and dear to our hearts at 3D InCites / 3D+, is this, from Professor del Alamo, MIT: “The future is obviously vertical.”
Well-said, Prof. del Alamo, well-said indeed.
For more on CS International 2015, and much more on the heterogeneous integration of III-V materials with CMOS / silicon, please see my next post, “Is Moore’s Law a ceiling, or is it a floor? More notes from CS International 2015,” appearing sometime next week.
In the meantime, from Pittsburgh, PA, thanks for reading. ~PFW