January 3, 2021

Six Chinese influence the development of semiconductors

In December 1947, a research team composed of Shockley, Barding, and Bratton from Bell Laboratories, USA, developed a point-contact germanium transistor, which was the world's first semiconductor device. In the history of more than 70 years of semiconductor development, the Chinese have played an important role by relying on their ingenuity.
1. Sazhitang: CMOS technology

Chih-Tang Sah (Chih-Tang Sah) was born in Beijing on November 10, 1932; he has been devoted to the research of semiconductor devices and microelectronics for a long time, and has made milestone contributions to the development of transistors, integrated circuits and reliability research. His father Sabendong was the first academician of the Academia Sinica and the first president of National Xiamen University.

Sachtang graduated from Fuzhou Yinghua Middle School in 1949 and went to the United States to study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 1953, he received a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and a bachelor's degree in engineering physics; in 1954 and 1956, he received a master's degree and a doctorate degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University. After graduating from his Ph.D. in 1956, Sazhitang joined the Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory and followed Shockley in the industry to conduct solid-state electronics research; worked at Fairchild Semiconductor from 1959 to 1964; joined the University of Illinois at Urbana in 1962 -Champaign, has been a professor in the Department of Physics and the Department of Electronics and Computer for 26 years, and trained 40 PhDs; won the IEEE Browder H. Thompson Paper Award in 1962; won the IEEE Electronic Devices Highest Honor Award (JJ Ebers Award) in 1981; Elected as a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 1986; Professor at the University of Florida in 1988; Received the IEEE Jack Morton Award in 1989 for his contribution to transistor physics and technology; In 1998, he won the highest award of the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA); in 2000 Elected as a foreign academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences; in 2010, he was appointed as a professor in the School of Physics and Mechanical and Electrical Engineering of Xiamen University.

In 1959, he entered Fairchild Company. Under the leadership of Gordon Moore, Sazhitang carried out the research and development of planar silicon-based integrated circuits, solved a series of important technical problems, made very important contributions, and served as solid-state physics The group manager leads a 64-person research group engaged in the manufacturing process research of the first generation silicon-based diodes, MOS transistors and integrated circuits.

In 1962, Frank M. Wanlass, who graduated with a Ph.D. from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, joined Fairchild Semiconductor and was placed in the solid-state physics group led by Sachtang. Because of his PhD work at RCA, Wanlass is very interested in FET field effect transistors.

At the solid-state circuit conference in 1963, Wanlass submitted a CMOS concept paper co-written with Sazhitang. At the same time, he also used some experimental data to give a general explanation of CMOS technology. The main features of CMOS were basically determined. : Static power supply has low power density; working power supply has high power density, which can form a high-density field-effect vacuum triode logic circuit. In other words, CMOS is an organic combination of NMOS and PMOS to form a logic device. Its characteristic is that the device will only generate a large current when the logic state is switched, and only a very small current will pass when the surface is in a stable state.

The CMOS proposed by Sazhitang and Wanlass at the beginning only refers to a technology, a process, rather than a specific product. The biggest feature of this manufacturing process is low power consumption, and a variety of products can be manufactured using CMOS technology. . In addition to low power consumption, CMOS also has the advantages of fast speed, strong anti-interference ability, high integration density, and gradual reduction in packaging costs.

In 1966, RCA in the United States developed CMOS integrated circuits and developed the first gate array (50 gates); in 1974, RCA introduced the first CMOS microprocessor 1802; in 1981, 64K CMOS SRAM came out. People use CMOS technology to manufacture more and more products.

The proposal and development of CMOS technology has solved the problem of power consumption and can promote the continuous development of integrated circuits in accordance with Moore's Law.

2. Shi Min: NVSM technology

Simon Sze was born on March 21, 1936 in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province. An expert in microelectronics and semiconductor devices, he was elected as a member of the Academia Sinica of Taiwan in 1994, an academician of the American Academy of Engineering in 1995, and a foreign academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering in June 1998. In 1991, he won the IEEE Electronic Devices Highest Honor Award (J.J. Ebers Award); in 2017, he and Gordon E Moore (the father of Moore's Law) were jointly awarded the title of IEEE Celebrated Member; and three times were nominated for the "Nobel Prize in Physics".

Born on March 21, 1936 in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province. His father Shi Jiafu is an expert in mining and metallurgy, and his mother Qi Zuquan graduated from Tsinghua University. In China at this time, wars were raging. From Chongqing, Kunming, Tianjin, Beijing, Shenyang, and Shanghai, Shi Min's primary school changed multiple schools. Nevertheless, his studies were not delayed. In December 1948, his father Shi Jiafu was transferred to Jinguashih, Keelung, so Shi Min came to Taiwan with his parents. Leaving the turmoil of the war, Shi Min successfully completed his high school studies at Jianguo Middle School and entered the Department of Electrical Engineering of National Taiwan University in 1953. When he graduated, his thesis was "Study of RC Oscillators".

After graduating from university in 1957, Shi Min enlisted in the sixth reserve officer training. He served as a second lieutenant in the Air Force in 1958 and retired in February 1959. In March 1959, Shi Min went to the University of Washington in Seattle, USA to study, under the tutelage of Professor Wei Lingyun, he was able to contact semiconductors for the first time. His master's thesis "Diffusion of Zinc and Tin in Indium Antimonide" ". Shi Min graduated with a master's degree in 1960 and then entered Stanford University for further studies, under the tutelage of Professor John Moll. His doctoral dissertation is "Range-Energy Relation of Hot Electrons in Gold", which is to grow a thin gold film on a semiconductor to study the transmission of hot electrons in the film.

At this time, semiconductor companies are accelerating their expansion. Bell Labs, General Electronics, Westinghouse Electronics, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, RCA, etc. all offered Shi Min high salaries (between $12,000-14,400), and the job positions given were: General Electronics' Power Semiconductor Department , Bell Labs' semiconductor department, IBM's display department.

After graduating from his doctorate in 1963, Min Shi followed Professor John Moll's advice and chose to enter Bell Labs. From 1963 to 1972, Shi Min published more than 10 papers each year.

In 1967, when he was working at Bell Labs, he and his Korean colleague Dawon Kahng used layer after layer of sauce during a dessert break, which touched the inspiration of the two and thought of working in the metal oxide semiconductor field. A metal layer was added in the middle of the MOSFET, and as a result, the floating gate non-volatile MOS field effect memory transistor (Non-Volatile Semiconductor Memory, NVSM) was invented.

The gate of the transistor is composed of a metal layer, an oxide layer, a metal floating gate layer, a thinner oxide layer, and the bottom semiconductor from top to bottom, and the metal layer in the middle is an insulating oxide layer from top to bottom. When a voltage is applied, the electrons can be sucked in and stored to change the continuity of the circuit. The upper and lower layers of this layer of metal are insulators. If the reverse voltage is no longer applied, the charge will always be stored in it. The data will not disappear after power-up.

However, when the technology was proposed in 1967, it did not cause too many ripples in the industry, but good technology is not lonely after all. 30 years later, driven by the application of flash memory, it finally shines. Shi Min's non-volatile storage technology The importance has also been continuously mentioned, and it has become the basic core of today's NAND Flash.

3. Zhuo Yihe: Molecular Beam Epitaxy (MBE)

Zhuo Yihe (Alfred Y. Cho), born in Beijing in 1937; went to Hong Kong to study at Pei Zheng Middle School in 1949; went to the United States to study at the University of Illinois in 1955, received a bachelor of science in 1960, a master's degree in 1961, 1968 Received a doctorate from the University of Illinois in 1985; was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1985; was awarded the National Medal of Science, the highest honor for a US scientist in 1993; received the IEEE Medal of Honor in 1994, in recognition of his pioneering contributions to the development of molecular beam epitaxy ; On June 7, 1996, he was elected as a foreign academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences; on July 27, 2007, he was again awarded the National Medal of Science and the National Medal of Technology; on February 11, 2009, he was selected as the National Invention of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Home Hall of Fame" list.

In 2013, at the 12th Asian American Engineers Annual Awards Conference, Zhuo Yihe won the "Outstanding Scientific and Technological Achievement Award". Zhuo Yihe said in his acceptance speech, "The important thing for success is: you have to grasp yourself, love your work, pursue, have a purpose, and put in more hard work."


In 1961, Zhuo Yihe joined Ion Physics Corporation, a subsidiary of High Voltage Engineering Corporation. He studied micron-sized solid particles charged in a strong electric field; in 1962, he joined Rayleigh, California. The TRW Space Technology Laboratory in Dongduo Beach is engaged in the research of high current density ion beams; in 1965, he returned to the University of Illinois to pursue a doctorate degree, and joined Bell Labs in 1968.


Zhuo Yihe discovered that there was no technology in the industry to produce uniform and extremely thin films, so he thought about using ion jet principle molecular beam to do this technology. In 1970, Zhuo Yihe successfully invented Molecular Beam Epitaxy (MBE). The principle is to shoot up layer by layer of atoms, so that the thickness of the semiconductor film is greatly reduced, and the precision of semiconductor manufacturing has changed from the micron era to the sub-micron era.


Professor Zhuo Yihe is an internationally recognized founder and pioneer of molecular beam epitaxy, artificial microstructure material growth and new device research. A lot of pioneering research work has been carried out systematically on III-V compound semiconductors, metals and insulators heteroepitaxial and artificial structure quantum wells, superlattices and modulation doped microstructure materials.


Since 2004, the MBE group has donated a sum of funds to establish the "Zhuo Yihe Award", which is presented at the MBE International Conference every other year in early September. This is undoubtedly the highest affirmation and respect for Zhuo Yihe from all colleagues and colleagues.


4. Zhang Ligang: Resonant tunneling phenomenon


Zhang Ligang (Leroy L. Chang) was born on January 20, 1936 in Jiaozuo County, Henan Province; arrived in Taiwan in 1948 and studied at Taichung Second High School; admitted to the Department of Electrical Engineering, National Taiwan University in 1953, majoring in electrical engineering. In 1957, he obtained a bachelor's degree; in 1959, after two years of training and serving as an Air Force reserve officer, he went to the University of South Carolina to study in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering; in 1961, he obtained a master's degree and entered the Stanford University to study solid-state electronics and electrical engineering Ph.D. After graduating from the Ph.D. in 1963, he joined the IBM Watson Research Center. He has served as the manager of the molecular beam epitaxy department (1975-1984) and the manager of the quantum structure department (1985-1993). The research field has gradually changed from electronic devices to Material measurement and physical properties; from 1968 to 1969, he worked in the Department of Electrical Engineering of Massachusetts Institute of Technology as an associate professor; he was elected as a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 1988; he was appointed as the dean of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in 1993; he was elected as an associate professor in 1994 Academician of the US National Academy of Sciences, Academician of Taiwan’s Academia Sinica, Academician of Hong Kong Academy of Engineering Sciences, Foreign Academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences; served as Vice President of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology from 1998 to 2001, and died in Los Angeles, USA on August 12, 2008.


Zhang Ligang has a lot of original and pioneering work in semiconductor quantum wells, superlattices, and other frontier fields formed by the intersection of semiconductor physics, materials science and devices. Resonant tunneling diodes are inseparable from Zhang Ligang's research.


The resonant tunneling diode is the first nanoelectronic device to be studied intensively, and is the only device that can be designed and manufactured using integrated circuit technology. It can be used in high-frequency microwave devices (oscillators, mixers), high-speed digital circuits (memory), and photoelectric integrated circuits (photoelectric switches, optical regulators).


In 1969, when IBM's Reona Esaki and Zhu Zhaoxiang (Raphael Tsu) were looking for a new device with negative differential resistance (NDR) characteristics, they proposed a new revolutionary concept: semiconductor superlattice (SuperLattice) and predicted in 1973 that resonant tunneling can occur in the barrier structure of the superlattice.


In 1974, Zhang Ligang used the molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) invented by Zhuo Yihe to prepare GaAa/AlXGaXAs heterostructures and observed weak NDR characteristics, which confirmed the theoretically predicted resonance tunneling phenomenon, despite the NDR observed at that time The characteristics are too small for practical application, but it opens up a new field for semiconductor scientific research. Since then, this field has been actively developed; it has not only become a forward-looking research field in physics, materials and electronics, but also expanded and mechanical and biological systems, collectively referred to as nanotechnology.


With the progress of MBE technology, in 1983, MIT Lincoln Laboratory observed obvious resonance tunneling phenomenon, which stimulated people’s interest in RTD research; RTD integrated devices became a research hotspot in 1988, Texas Instruments, Bell Labs, Fujitsu and Nippon Telegraph The telephone company (NTT) has prepared RTBT, RTDQD, RTFET, RTHFET, RTHET, RTHEMT, RTLD and other devices.


5. Hu Zhengming: BSIM model, fin field effect transistor (FinFET)


Chenming Hu (Chenming Hu) was born in Beijing, China in July 1947; received a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from National Taiwan University in 1968; went to study at the University of California, Berkeley in 1969, received a master's degree in 1970, and a doctorate in 1973; 1997 Elected as an academician of the American Academy of Engineering Sciences in 2001; served as the chief technology officer of TSMC (TSMC) from 2001 to 2004; elected as a foreign academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2007; won the US National Technology and Innovation Award in December 2015; won the US on May 19, 2016 National Science Medal.


Professor Hu Zhengming is an important pioneer in the research of microelectronics miniaturization physics and reliability physics, and has made significant contributions to the development of semiconductor devices and the future miniaturization. The main scientific and technological achievements are: Leading the research of BSIM and deducing the mathematical model from the complex physics of the actual MOSFET transistor. The mathematical model was selected by the Transistor Model Council of 38 major international companies as the first chip design in 1997. The only international standard.


In the 1990s, a variety of new structure devices such as FinFET and FD-SOI, which have attracted international attention, were invented. These two device structures are focused on solving the leakage problem of the device. It is rare that these two device structures are finally realized by the industry. In May 2011, Intel announced the use of FinFET technology, including TSMC, Samsung, and Apple successively using FinFET. Hu Zhengming created a new opportunity after Moore's Law was sung.


Outstanding contributions to the reliability physics research of microelectronic devices: first proposed the physical mechanism of hot electron failure, developed a method for quickly predicting device life using impact ionization current, and proposed the physical mechanism of thin oxide failure and high voltage to quickly predict thin oxide Layer life method. The first computer numerical simulation tool for IC reliability based on device reliability physics.


Professor Hu Zhengming also participated in the founding of BTA Technology in 1993; merged with Ultima Interconnect Technology in 2001 to form BTA Ultima, which was later renamed Celestry Design Technologies, Inc.; in 2003, it was acquired by Cadence for US$120 million.


At the 2019 Synopsys Developer Conference, Professor Hu Zhengming shared with everyone via video. He also said that he has been conducting research on the "negative capacitance transistor" project recently, saying it is a very promising new technology that can reduce semiconductor power consumption by 10 times and may also bring more benefits.


Professor Hu Zhengming said on multiple occasions that the integrated circuit industry can grow for another 100 years, and chip power consumption can be reduced by 1,000 times. There is always a limit to the reduction of line width. To a certain extent, there will be no economic effect to drive people to continue this path. But we don’t necessarily have to go to the dark, we can also change our thinking, and it is also possible to achieve what we want to achieve.


6. Zhang Zhongmou: Regular price reduction strategy; foundry


Morris Chang (Morris Chang) was born on July 10, 1931 in Yin County, Ningbo City, Zhejiang Province; moved to Nanjing in 1932; moved to Guangzhou in 1937, and moved to Hong Kong after the outbreak of the Anti-Japanese War; moved to Chongqing in 1943 and entered Nankai Middle School; won the War of Resistance in 1945 , Moved to Shanghai and entered Shanghai Nanyang Model Middle School; moved to Hong Kong again in 1948; went to Boston to study at Harvard University in 1949; transferred to Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1950, received a bachelor's degree in 1952, and a master's degree in 1953; 1954 Passed two doctoral qualification examinations in 1955 and 1955; entered the semiconductor department of Sylvania in 1955 and formally entered the semiconductor field; worked as an engineering manager in the semiconductor division of Texas Instruments from 1958 to 1963; obtained Stanford in 1964 Ph.D. in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University; from 1965 to 1966, he served as the general manager of the Germanium Transistor Division of Texas Instruments; from 1966 to 1967, he served as the general manager of the Texas Instruments Integrated Circuit Division; from 1967 to 1972, he served as the vice president of Texas Instruments; Senior Vice President of the Instrument Group and General Manager of the Semiconductor Group; left in 1983 due to a disagreement with the Texas Instruments board of directors; served as the president of General Instruments in 1984; invited back to Taiwan from 1985 to 1988 as the president of the Industrial Technology Research Institute; founded in 1987 TSMC.


"Regular price reduction strategy" made Zhang Zhongmou famous in the global electronics industry. When he was at Texas Instruments, he first launched the DRAM war. It was 1972, when the main memory product on the market was only 1K, and the biggest competitor of Texas Instruments was Intel. Zhang Zhongmou spotted the opportunity, advanced two levels, started from 4K, and became the industry hegemon, making the invincible Intel willing to bow down. What makes competitors more disturbed is that Zhang Zhongmou agreed with his customers to cut prices by 10% every quarter. This is a ruthless trick that made his opponents lose one by one. He was quite proud: "To scare away competitors, this is the only way." Soon, Zhang Zhongmou's "regular price reduction strategy" became a standard in the electronics industry. At that time, Intel, which insisted on not cutting prices, had to change This strategy is regarded as a magic weapon for competition. The "regular price reduction strategy" vibrated the industry and rewritten the rules of the semiconductor game.

"Foundry" has radically changed the semiconductor industry. The biggest change Zhang Zhongmou brought to the semiconductor industry was the establishment of a foundry.


The invention of the integrated circuit in 1958 allowed many semiconductor components to be placed on one wafer at a time. As the line width shrinks, the number of transistors accommodated will double about every two years, and the performance will double every 18 months. From less than 10 in 1958 to 2000 in 1971, it increased to 100,000 in the 1980s, and to 10 million in the 1990s. This phenomenon was proposed by Moore, the honorary chairman of Intel, and is called Moore’s Law. Today, there are hundreds of millions to billions of components on integrated circuits.


In the early days, semiconductor companies were mostly integrated component manufacturers (IDMs) who did everything from IC design, manufacturing, packaging, testing to sales, such as Intel, Texas Instruments, Motorola, Samsung, Philips, Toshiba, and local China Resources Micro , Silan Micro.


However, due to Moore’s Law, the design and production of semiconductor chips became more and more complex and costly. A single semiconductor company often could not afford the high R&D and production costs. Therefore, by the end of the 1980s, the semiconductor industry gradually moved towards In the mode of professional division of labor, some companies specialize in design and then hand it over to other companies for foundry and packaging testing.


One of the important milestones is that in 1987, Zhang Zhongmou established the world's first professional foundry company TSMC (TSMC) in the Hsinchu Science Park, Taiwan, and quickly developed into a leader in Taiwan's semiconductor industry.


Under the leadership of Zhang Zhongmou, TSMC has become the world's largest foundry, and its process technology has stepped closer to or even surpassed Intel Corporation, occupying 56% of the global foundry industry, far ahead of other competitors.


Since a company only does the design and the manufacturing process is handed over to other companies, it is easy to worry about the leakage of secrets (for example, Qualcomm and HiSilicon, two competing IC design manufacturers, also hire TSMC as a foundry, which means that TSMC knows the secrets of the two ), so TSMC was not favored by the market at the beginning.


However, TSMC itself does not sell chips and is purely a foundry. It can also set up special production lines for various chip manufacturers, and strictly maintain customer privacy, gain the trust of customers, and thus promote the development of Fabless.

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