Densitron

<p>Adrian Bowles, technical leader for Qinetiq's piezoelectric research, said: We took it on in a consulting role from Texon. We are looking at other applications for self-contained power sources, but not in the application of a shoe.”</p>

Despite the downturn, Pistorio claims STMicro's market share in flash memories jumped to 9.5% in the second calendar quarter, up from 6.4% at the end of 2000 and 4.8% in the final quarter of 1999. He attributed the leap to the relatively small die size and low cost structure for STMicro's flash products as well as 10 long-term flash contracts that the company signed with large users last year.

Meanwhile, Qualcomm, San Diego, has held a relatively strong position in the current market climate. Its share prices, for example, have held steady amidst the share price crash suffered by communications IC players across the industry, and unlike many top-tier IC players, it has reported only positive earnings during the last year.

TOKYO — NEC's new radical nitridation process to improve gate oxide dialectrics for 100-nm process-based system-on-chip (SoC) technology should work all the way down to the 70-nm process node, perhaps obviating or at least providing an alternative to higher-risk high-k materials, according to engineers at NEC Electron Devices.

resistance in series vs parallel

NEC has demonstrated it can bulk-process a mix of I/0, low-leakage and high-performance transistors with a gate length of 1.6 nm by implanting a 1-nanometer-thick, nitrogen-rich barrier” within the standard silicon dioxide film, said Tomohisa Kitano, group manager of Electron Devices' front-end process group.

Originally unveiled at last month's VLSI Technology Symposium (Kyoto, Japan), the radical nitridation technique provided a key breakthrough in enabling NEC to develop its UX6 process, said Osamu Kudoh, general manager of NEC Electron Devices' ULSI device development division. That process, he said, allows NEC to build transistors with a gate length of 65 nm and a pitch of 0.24 micrometers that run on 1 volt, meaning the process technology beats some parameters of the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) for the 100-nm node.

NEC said earlier this month it will have UX6 products ready for early 2003 with foundry partner Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC). On top of that, Electron Devices is already looking into tweaking the radical nitridation process for NEC's UX7, 70-nm platform technology that the company plans to make ready for 2005, said Kitano.

resistance in series vs parallel

I think we can extend this all the way down to 70 nm,” he said.

NEC's confidence comes from its rapid progress in getting around the potential show-stopping leakage vulnerability of silicon dioxide below the 130-nm node.

resistance in series vs parallel

Gate depletion, smooth substrate formation — to ensure electron mobility — and boron penetration-related reliability issues remain serious problems for scaling gates at this technology node. But the key bugbear has been stopping boron penetration and overcoming silicon dioxide's enormous leakage problems in the PNMOS gate as the film thickness nears 1.6 nm, said Masahiko Nakamae, chief manager of the company's ULSI division.

In fact, said Nakamae, every 2 angstroms shaved off the thickness from this point down causes a tenfold increase in leakage, making 1-volt operation and the maintenance of basic transistors on current of 750 microamps per 350 micrometers impossible. NEC, Applied Materials and Tokyo Electron, for example, have been pushing various processes to cap” the silicon dioxide with nitrogen, but NEC has demonstrably cracked the issue with its radical approach, he said.

The Universal Stylus Initiative (USI) encourages touchscreen device makers and software developers to support a newly standardized peripheral interface. The USI standard (1.0) measures stylus user characteristics — like pressure, color and stroke width — and communicates these to the tablet or smartphone host. The use of a standard interface, developers believe, will dramatically expand to use of stylus-dependent applications.

A consortium of computer hardware and software makers announced Thursday (September 22) their support for a stylus peripheral standard. The Universal Stylus Initiative (USI 1.0) standard describes a handheld computer stylus interface, intended to work with any USI-enabled tablet or touchscreen. Supporters of the standard include computer industry heavyweights Dell, Lenovo, HP and Intel.

Our goal was to have a single, universal stylus capable of operating with all the touchscreen devices that a consumer owns or uses in the workplace — whether tablet, 2-in-1, or smartphone,” said Peter Mueller, an Intel VP and chairman of the USI. One USI stylus will talk to many different devices.” A stylus interface standard will increase the use of these peripherals, and expand the applications for them, Mueller believes.

The application of styluses with tablets has thus far been something of a niche. Many drivers may be familiar with the tablet-based forms filled out by service reps at an automobile service center. Other use cases include drawing and graphics rendering — even handwriting recognition and analysis. Photo editing will be a major growth driver, suggests graphics industry analyst Jon Peddie of Jon Peddie Research. In these applications, the editor can use a stylus to highlight an object on screen with all the precision his hand will allow. The popularity of stylus applications like this could catapult the stylus market from 100 million units in 2015 to as much as 300 million in 2018, Peddie suggests.

The stylus, Jon Peddie reminds, is the latest computer peripheral device to get industry-wide attention — behind the keyboard, mouse, voice recognition hardware, and touch pads. This is surprising considering that human beings learned to write with pens, long before they learned to work computers. What is miraculous, Peddie suggests, is that more than 30 companies got together on a new interface standard.

Verizon Wireless this week became the latest carrier to ask for a delay in meeting an October deadline for so-called Emergency 911 (E911) wireless services. Verizon joins Cingular , AT&T , Nextel , and other that have asked to U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to delay their E911 services. By October of this year, the FCC has set a mandate that carriers must integrate GPS-based E911 services in their handset offerings.

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