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[en] Microelectronics is impacting every moment and aspect of our daily lives and has radically transformed all industries in the last 50 years, but remains invisible for most people. Scaling transistors has been the ultimate goal for many years, and allowed engineers to make circuits more complex, working at lower power, and cheaper to produce. Today, scaling alone cannot respond to the growing needs for mobile and power electronics applications. The burning challenges ahead of us: power efficiency for better mobility, integration of functions to improve the mobile capacities and enabling cognitive technology for smart services. To support this evolution, the semiconductor industry needs disruptive concepts, from innovative materials to devices and systems. Higher physics education provides frontier knowledge about the latest research and applications in the field.
[en] Microelectronic components that would function reliably at ground level may fail, with disastrous consequences, when used in a spacecraft or communications satellite. Outside the earth's atmosphere, ionizing radiation can make minute electronically active structures perform unreliably or break down completely. This paper reports that together with a team of graduate students, the author is investigating the fundamental mechanisms by which energetic radiation affects the behavior of microelectronic structures. Their approach involves three steps, each of which plays an essential role in the development of radiation-tolerant devices. First, they investigate the characteristics of relevant radiation sources, then they examine the way in which radiation interacts with the materials employed in particular electronic devices, and finally, they measure and interpret the response of these devices to the radiation field. The effort is interdisciplinary, involving nuclear science, space science, solid-state physics, and microelectronics
[en] The use of x-ray lithography by semiconductor device engineers for chip production is compared with other techniques at present employed. The advantages, in particular the possibility of obtaining chip geometries of less than 1 μ, are discussed and the x-ray machines involved considered. (UK)