Proposed is the strategic promotion of seed-oriented nanoelectronics R&D based on a novel concept and emerging technology for penetrating the technological limit of CMOS aiming at the establishment of a long-term industrial platform in the future. For this purpose, academia and government-financed research institutes should lead their strategic R&D for exploring scientific and technological seeds for future nanoelectronics, in parallel with a scenario for new nanoelectronics as one of the future main industries.
Technologies for the down-scaling and integration of electronic devices will remain indispensable for meeting the demands of an exponential increase in information data that should be treated electronically. However, we are facing serious problems, such as an intrinsic physical limit of scaling, increasing dispersion of device parameters, and increasing heat power density caused by the integration. In order to overcome these difficulties, it is urgently needed to promote R&D, by making the best use of emerging nano-science and nanotechnology, in order to realize electronic devices based on novel principles replacing conventional CMOS, and to explore new materials applicable to the new devices. Since large public investments have already been made in this area not only in the US but also in the EU, it is urgent to accelerate the R&D activities of this area under the umbrella of a national strategic R&D plan.
Two specific R&D programs are proposed:
1) An R&D program for device operation and device technologies of novel-concept logic and memory devices for realizing high-speed operation, high capacity, low power consumption, and high reliability
2) An R&D program for exploring new materials enabling nanoelectronics devices and for demonstrating their technological feasibility for device application
R&D program 1) is concerned with novel logic devices using new state variables that can replace conventional logic devices that are basically operated by electronic charge, and also novel memory devices for ultra-high speed, ultra-high capacity, and ultra-low power consumption. R&D program 2) aims at exploring new materials necessary for the novel logic and memory devices. The aforementioned “new state variables” include, for example, spin, phase, polarization, and molecular configuration. These non-charge state variables have a possibility of realizing ultra-low power consumption and ultra-high speed operation, due to their characteristics without power dissipation and without signal delay originating in the capacitance. However, such performance has not yet been realized at present, and even the concept has not been verified for some state variables. Therefore, the proposed program includes high risks and high challenges, but the impact will be very high when the goal is achieved.
For the effective promotion of the proposed R&D, establishment of a research hub center, cooperative research of industry, academia and government, globalization, and personnel training and education should be evaluated as the achievement of the project. Specific promotion programs proposed are listed below.
(1) Establishment of a research hub center: Highly controlled facilities for device fabrication, processing, and characterization are indispensable for the proposed R&D of fundamental nanoelectronics technologies. The facilities should be constructed to adapt to the Japanese environment, referring to several global hub centers in the US and the EU.
(2) Cooperative research of industry, academia, and government: The results obtained in the R&D should not only be conceptual ideas, but also be guiding principles for the practical application in the real world. For this purpose, construction of a cooperative system of industry, academia, and government is desirable. Industry, academia, and government should collaborate for the R&D of various germinated seeds, and adjust the system according to the progress of the project.
(3) Globalization: An operation system that can promote participation of excellent researchers and active students, both domestic and from overseas, is essential for the proposed seed-oriented R&D.
(4) Personnel training and education: The most serious problem in the nanoelectronics field in Japan is insufficient human resources to play major roles in the next generation. The R&D should be promoted in a way whereby personnel training and education becomes one of the important achievements of the program.
Breakthrough or bypass of limitations in scaling, integration, and power consumption reduction will be difficult to achieve by the extension of current technologies, and thus a long-term approach for the investigation of novel-principle-based devices with new structures and new materials is essential. For the realization of the proposed program, governmental operation for maximizing funding efficiency, harmonizing with the current and planned programs across the related ministries and agencies, should be promoted.