The future of IC design

-July 14, 2016

5G infrastructure and RF transistors

Source: NXP

See this NXP/Freescale timeline (part of which is shown above), and work your way forward to solid state RF cooking (see below), 5G infrastructure, and smart stadiums using RF transistors that will continue to make capacity records (records were broken at Super Bowl 50 at Levi’s Stadium). Smart cities will be able to profit from the same technologies, while ICs advance self-driving cars and serve as "an extension of our minds,” not only to keep us organized but also to improve our predictive healthcare, according to the “father of the cell phone,” Martin Cooper, who invented it in 1973 while at Motorola (Freescale's predecessor).

Source: NXP

We've come a long way since the "brick" style cell phone invented by Martin Cooper. By 2076, however, the cell phone will have become an extension of our minds with a brain-implanted interface that keeps us organized, predicts our needs, and serves as our sole payment device. There will, along the way, be a number of intermediate stages with a gradual change in form factor evolving toward the brain implant. NXP currently claims to be the leading provider of RF power amplifiers to cellular base stations, and pledges to stay at the forefront of the cellular innovation for the next 60 years (see image above). 

Source: NXP

By 2076 all devices will have wirelessly recharged energy sources. Leading the charge today is NXP's Wayv Adventurer the world's first portable, battery-powered RF cooking appliance. NXP partnered with Wayv to bring battery-powered RF cooking to the commercial market. By replacing heavy, inefficient microwave hardware with solid state RF, consumers can rapidly heat food anytime, anywhere. The Wayv Adventurer is a microwave on-the-go solution for camping trips or generally for anyone on the go. Beginning as a lightweight solution for soldiers out in the field heating rationed food packets it excelled with silent operation and without the need for ambient light while on covert missions. Now it is available for any consumer and will be followed by a chain reaction of solid state devices that gradually obsolete every small appliance powered by AC today.

Predictive medicine enabled by RF transistors

Source: NXP

Predictive medicine is being enabled by high-power RF transistors configured as diagnostic tools. As 2076 approaches, our healthcare system will become much more predictive and non-invasive as RF power solutions continue to advance medical applications, according to NXP.

Today's main applications include MRI; ablation to reduce tissue size or remove tissue through surgery; diathermy for treatment of arthritis, back pain, muscle spasms, sprains, strains, and bone injuries; and cosmetic therapy especially for skin treatment.

The history of medicine is rich in RF applications, according to NXP. For instance, in 1891 Nikola Tesla noted that high frequency currents produced heat in the body and suggested its use in medicine. Around the same time, Jacques-Arsine d'Arsonval discovered that frequencies above 10 kHz did not cause the physiological reaction of electric shock, but instead produced tissue warming. And medical diathermy, electrically induced heat by virtue of the use of high-frequency electromagnetic currents, began to be used as a form of physical or occupational therapy and in surgical procedures around the turn of the 20th century. Diathermy was pioneered in 1907 by German physician Karl Franz Nagelschmidt, who coined the term.

Today medicine has amassed a vast catalog of what frequencies heat which materials, and LDMOS (laterally diffused metal oxide semiconductor) RF power transistors are ramping up, making the  magnetrons like those used in microwave ovens a thing of the past.

The advantages for healthcare patients in using RF transistors over magnetrons include: precise control, ease of use, reliability and small size/low weight, making futuristic predictive healthcare a reality.

Carbon nanotube transistors

Here a new carbon-nanotube contact shows how the fabricated nanotube transistor can be end-bonded at lengths below 10 nanometers. And since nanotubes themselves measure just 1.2-nanometers in diameter, but can measure up to 100 microns in length, they still may extend the end of the silicon roadmap circa 2023.

Through-silicon-vias becomes obsolete

In the future, through-silicon-vias (TSVs) will be obsoleted by micron scale "bumps," here in "grown" fields of carbon nanostructures (black), for advanced packaging technologies. All IC designs will become systems-in-package, with all tasks performed by a group of processors, mixed-signal accelerators, and input-output channels customized for a particular application.

Also see:

  1. 3D stacked memories
  2. Growing InGaAs transistor channels
  3. Neuromorphic cognitive computing chips
  4. Nanowire all-around gates
  5. 5G infrastructure and RF transistors
  6. Carbon nanotube transistors
  7. Through-silicon-vias becomes obsolete
  8. Superconducting niobium quantum computer
  9. 3D MEMS biometric detector
  10. Integrated nano-photonics technology

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