What is this IC dimension mean

Thread Starter

Bamerni

Joined Jun 26, 2016
53
Hello everyone

I have a simple question.

when I read or work with some microcontroller I always face a term with a micro meter, for example, the following microcontroller was built with 0.8 um technology or 0.3 um or any number.

what is this number represent? why is this number described as technology? and what is the benefit of this number to IC user?

thank you in advance
 

crutschow

Joined Mar 14, 2008
26,781
...............
when I read or work with some microcontroller I always face a term with a micro meter, for example, the following microcontroller was built with 0.8 um technology or 0.3 um or any number.

what is this number represent? why is this number described as technology? and what is the benefit of this number to IC user?
The number is the minimum feature size of the fabricated devices on the chip (for example the minimum gate length of the MOSFETs).
The smaller the feature size the more devices that can be put on the chip with resulting faster speed and/or lower power.
Thus a given size IC chip can do more if it has smaller feature size devices.
For example, from Google (Intel):
In 1971, the first-gen Intel processor sported 2,300 transistors and ran at 740,000Hz. The latest fourth-gen Intel Core processor has 1.7billion transistors and runs at 3,000,000,000Hz.

Thus this 740,000 factor increase in the number of transistors, and the 4,000 factor increase in speed are mainly due to the huge reduction in minimum feature size from then (10μm) to now (as low as 14nm or 0.014μm), since the physical chip sizes are not that different.

So the obvious benefit to the IC user is, more bang for the buck. :D
 
Last edited:

Thread Starter

Bamerni

Joined Jun 26, 2016
53
The number is the minimum feature size of the fabricated devices on the chip (for example the minimum gate length of the MOSFETs).
The smaller the feature size the more devices that can be put on the chip with resulting faster speed and/or lower power.
Thus a given size IC chip can do more if it has smaller feature size devices.
For example, from Google (Intel):
In 1971, the first-gen Intel processor sported 2,300 transistors and ran at 740,000Hz. The latest fourth-gen Intel Core processor has 1.7billion transistors and runs at 3,000,000,000Hz.

Thus this 740,000 factor increase in the number of transistors, and the 4,000 factor increase in speed are mainly due to the huge reduction in feature size from then to now, since the physical chip sizes are not that different.

So the benefit to the IC user is, more bang for the buck. :D

Thank you for this clarification

another question related to your answer

you said that this dimension is the minimum gate length, and what about its width? and doesn't more transistor mean more power dissipated?

and thank you again
 

crutschow

Joined Mar 14, 2008
26,781
you said that this dimension is the minimum gate length, and what about its width? and doesn't more transistor mean more power dissipated?
It relates to the minimum width also, but that varies more due to the function of the particular transistor.

More transistors do mean more power, but smaller transistors have less parasitic capacitance, which is a large factor affecting the switching power in a digital circuit, so those two factors tend to offset each other.
 
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