HP Labs Technical Reports



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Technology Leverage for Ultra-Low Power Information Systems

Stork, Hans

HPL-94-120(R.1)

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Abstract: Many applications for future generations of logic and memory chips will be requiring highly sophisticated computing functions at low cost. Small form factors, portability, and low cost will require low power operation. While continued scaling of silicon technology to dimensions below quarter micron devices and interconnections appears technically feasible, higher levels of integration and operation at higher speed have been driving the power consumption of logic chips up instead of down. This paper discusses how scaled submicron silicon technology can provide leverage to reduce power, while gaining in throughput for logic chips, and in capacity for memory functions. Strong reductions in voltage supply have to accompany shrinking dimensions. Materials limits such as tunneling currents through ultra-thin silicon-dioxide gate dielectrics and electromigration in minimum pitch interconnections emerge to be key challenges to realize low power 0.1 micron level CMOS circuits. A more than 10x gain in productivity as measured by the energy delay product can be realized by shrinking from 0.5 to 0.123 micron CMOS device technology.

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