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New Manufacturing Technology Enables Vertical 3D Transistors

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the losing-the-flatland-market-segment dept.

Data Storage 75

MrSeb writes "Applied Materials has taken the wraps off a new etching system meant to turn vertically stacked, three-dimensional transistors from lab experiments into commercial reality. The new Centura Avatar solves multiple problems facing manufacturers who are interested in 3D NAND but find their current equipment not up to the task of actually building it. According to the folks at Applied Materials, trying to build 3D NAND structures in real life would be like trying to dig a one-kilometer-deep, three-kilometer-long trench with walls exactly three meters apart, through interleaved rock strata — and that's before we discuss gate trenches or the staircases. While this machine specifically targets 3D NAND today, a number of the challenges to scaling flash memory apply to scaling CPU logic as well. As for when 3D chips will be available for commercial purchase, Applied Materials was vague on that point, but personally I would expect to see companies adopting the new etch equipment in the next few years."

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Uh oh (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40471451)

How long until some delusional nerd thinks this means "3D printing" chips at home?

Re:Uh oh (1)

CaptainLugnuts (2594663) | more than 2 years ago | (#40472309)

Well, if you an afford one of these I see no reason you can't buy one fro your Mom's basement.

Only Two Questions: (1)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | more than 2 years ago | (#40471457)

1. When will this be in consumer product use?
2. How will this change the price per GB?

Re:Only Two Questions: (2)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40471597)

1. Random ballpark guess, I'd say 5 years, and it will probably be extremely expensive then (likely for enterprise and professionals who need extremely high density NAND).
2. It probably won't, not for a while anyways. It should allow much (much) higher density, but only after they start mass producing it. So, don't expect to be buying 1TB flash cards for $100 anytime soon. It will also almost certainly have major reliability issues for a long time to come, due to the difficulties with the process. Seriously, don't even start looking forward to it yet, it's that far away.

Re:Only Two Questions: (2, Insightful)

KingMotley (944240) | more than 2 years ago | (#40472011)

I would think this tech will come sooner, and while expensive, it should also increase performance while increasing density. Shorter traces = faster signals and less problems trying to coordinate synchronization between multiple paths since the difference between longest and shortest traces is reduced.

Re:Only Two Questions: (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#40476111)

Most of the expense now is the cost of the silicon wafer (although that is decreasing very rapidly). Using less wafer area has an obvious cost benefit unless the price of multiple layers of material plated on top is high.

Re:Only Two Questions: (3, Interesting)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 2 years ago | (#40472065)

1. Random ballpark guess, I'd say 5 years

Five years are barely enough to get a small modification of a process from a research fab to a real one, if it works flawlessly. A couple more years are typical for technologies that don't work flawlessly at the first try. This process needs an antire new fab, with much more layers than normaly available, and their special etching tech. I wouldn't expect it to get mainstream soon.

Only Two Competitors. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40473759)

Maybe Intel will fast speed it through, and wipe the floor with everyone else.

Re:Only Two Questions: (1)

ChrisMaple (607946) | more than 2 years ago | (#40474671)

Why would you expect reliability issues? it's not as if things like thermal stress and diffusion rates can't be calculated. What sort of issues do you expect to show up?

Re:Only Two Questions: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40475901)

Why would you expect reliability issues? it's not as if things like thermal stress and diffusion rates can't be calculated. What sort of issues do you expect to show up?

My ten years of experience with engineering says that the things that can be calculated and the things that can be expected will be handled in advance and will not cause a problem.
It's those other things, the one thing you didn't expect, or possibly that thing that you did expect but couldn't do anything about because the higher ups didn't want to delay the project, that will cause the problems.

3D transistors is typically the kind of thing that is easy enough to calculate and simulate but when it comes to manufacturing the result will not match the theory and the entire manufacturing process need to be rethought or the designs have to change to work around the manufacturing problems.

Friedman Units (1)

royallthefourth (1564389) | more than 2 years ago | (#40471463)

The next six months will be crucial to the development of this technology.

wait wut? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40471509)

Yes, yes! I really did not read TFA but come the fuck on. Intel's Ivy Bridge was announced a few years ago and the product has been available for months now.

Is this yet another example of slashdot admin's time travel or what?

Re:wait wut? (1)

majorme (515104) | more than 2 years ago | (#40471527)

uh, why did i post that as AC

Re:wait wut? (4, Informative)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40471667)

This technology bears about the same resemblance to what Intel is doing as anaglyph 3D does to a hologram. Intel basically just stuck a 3rd gate on top of two others, stacking normal planar transistors. It's "3D" in the technical sense, but only barely. This new(ish) technology takes essentially a single block and molds it into arbitrarily many levels of transistors, so you can have a stack of dozens or hundreds deep. Much more difficult, and potentially far more rewarding.

Re:wait wut? (4, Insightful)

mhajicek (1582795) | more than 2 years ago | (#40471723)

And potentially far more difficult to get the heat out of.

Re:wait wut? (2)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40472201)

Yeah, I'm not sure what they plan on doing about that. Seems like it could be a major issue. They might not even have a solution to that yet, although TFA seems to be thinking this is going to be used for Flash memory, rather than CPU transistors, which makes heat considerably less of an issue.

Re:wait wut? (4, Informative)

MarioMax (907837) | more than 2 years ago | (#40472283)

Yeah, I'm not sure what they plan on doing about that. Seems like it could be a major issue. They might not even have a solution to that yet, although TFA seems to be thinking this is going to be used for Flash memory, rather than CPU transistors, which makes heat considerably less of an issue.

NAND memory, and memory in general, is generally first in adopting new process technologies. It's far easier to make (relatively simple) memory circuits (generally consisting of a tiny number of transistors) than it is to make (relatively complex) logic circuits (consisting of orders of magnitude more transistors).

Re:wait wut? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40489121)

NAND memory, and memory in general, is generally first in adopting new process technologies.

No, not really. It would be more accurate to say that high volume memories like NAND and DRAM tend to adopt different process technologies than logic, and do process shrinks on a slightly different cycle.

It's far easier to make (relatively simple) memory circuits (generally consisting of a tiny number of transistors) than it is to make (relatively complex) logic circuits (consisting of orders of magnitude more transistors).

You've got the density relationship completely backwards. A flash memory array has one transistor per cell (and stores 1 bit per cell for SLC flash, 2 bits per cell for MLC), and the cells are packed much more densely than random logic would be.

Last I checked, the largest flash die presently shipping is an 8 gigabyte (8 * 2^30 bytes) MLC part. (There are larger flash "chips", up to 64GB, but they're made by stacking multiple 8GB die in a single chip package.) At two bits per transistor, that's over 34 billion transistors. For comparison, Intel's current "extreme" CPU, the Sandy Bridge-E, has just 2.27 billion transistors.

Memory can be very dense because it's a regular array with simple row-and-column interconnections. Also, designers are free to spend a great deal of time optimizing the hell out of the physical layout of the memory cell design, both to get the cell very small and to improve how it tiles with neighboring copies of itself. Such physical design hyperoptimization is rare for logic circuits, since most logic is "random" (i.e. not suitable for layout as a repeated structure with predictable routing).

That regularity and homogeneity is what makes it easier (in some ways) to shrink flash or DRAM than logic, even though there are far more transistors. Process shrinks are difficult today because lithography must generate feature sizes much smaller than the wavelength of the light being used. But when the chip is a memory chip and most of it is a tiled array of a single structure, it becomes easier to tweak lithography techniques to make the shrink work well.

Re:wait wut? (1)

AlienIntelligence (1184493) | more than 2 years ago | (#40474741)

Yeah, I'm not sure what they plan on doing about that. Seems like it could be a major issue. They might not even have a solution to that yet, although TFA seems to be thinking this is going to be used for Flash memory, rather than CPU transistors, which makes heat considerably less of an issue.

http://www.gizmag.com/ibm-supermuc-supercomputer/23086/ [gizmag.com]

Any other questions?

-AI

Re:wait wut? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40484133)

You just need Helium II at 2.2 kelvin, problem solved! :)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_thermal_conductivities

Re:wait wut? (4, Informative)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | more than 2 years ago | (#40471697)

They aren't talking about non planar FETs ... their 3D NAND requires a far higher anisotropy (the whole 1 km deep 3 m wide bit).

oh really? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40471547)

"would be like trying to dig a one-kilometer-deep, three-kilometer-long trench with walls exactly three meters apart, through interleaved rock strata..."

No problem dudes, let me fire up Minecraft and I'll show you how its done!

Re:oh really? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40472579)

You hit bedrock at about fourty meters below ground.

Re:oh really? (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 2 years ago | (#40472647)

Step 1: Manufacture a diamond-tipped rotary saw blade three meters thick and approximately one kilometer in radius.

Step 2: Purchase a used generator from a hydroelectric plant and wire it up as a motor.

Step 3: Purchase all the power from an active hydroelectric plant.

Step 4: Throw the switch and run like hell.

Re:oh really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40472799)

Step 5. Repeat digging the trenches 500 trillion times.

Step 6. Leave corners and turns as an exercise for graduate students.

Re:oh really? (1)

ChrisMaple (607946) | more than 2 years ago | (#40474729)

Step 7. Profit!

probably not fast to market (2)

v1 (525388) | more than 2 years ago | (#40471593)

I foresee this going at about the pace that perpendicular recording did with hard drives. Remember how we heard about this whiz-bang great new idea years ago, and look how long it took to actually come to the practical market.

But now it's ubiquitous. So I suppose the same will happen with the chip. And I can see this dealing a crushing blow to the already hurting spinning disc hard drives with them being able to vastly increase flash storage density.

Re:probably not fast to market (1)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 2 years ago | (#40471703)

Crushing blow? Won't the read/write limit associated with flash prevent it from eliminating disks?

Re:probably not fast to market (2)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#40471781)

Hard drives eventually fail as well. The problem is that current flash memory tends to fail an order of magnitude faster than disks (that's just a rough figure, depends heavily on the specifics of the particular technology being used).

But this is purely a reliability issue with relatively new technology. They're still figuring out all the oddities, and also (I believe) making a slight trade-off between reliability and storage density.

Eventually, the failure rates will decrease to the point that flash memory has comparable reliability to spinning disks. Possibly even better.

Re:probably not fast to market (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 2 years ago | (#40471865)

I have yet to see a satisfactory analysis of this. Everything I read in the product literature indicates that they have more than enough lifetime. The engineering articles indicate that even if they were to fail prematurely, it would result in a read-only disk. Yet every real-world report on these drives is that the entire contents of the drive suddenly vanishes, or the drive cannot be recognized at all.

Either the users are exaggerating the error reports, or lying; or the engineers and product literature are wrong. Something doesn't add-up.

Re:probably not fast to market (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#40471891)

Perhaps the actual storage chips have that much of a lifetime, but the supporting architecture may not?

Re:probably not fast to market (2)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 2 years ago | (#40472567)

It is painfully obvious that the flash itself remains readable when the write limits are reached.. anyone that says different is extremely ignorant of the subject.

The SSD's that are failing rapidly are not doing so because the flash has reached its erase limits. They are doing so because something else is breaking, and this is immediately obvious when several different companies produce SSD's using flash chips from the same source (in particular, Intel or Sandisk) but have drastically different first-year failure rates.

Steadfast Networks (aka Karl Zimmerman) reports a 1.6% AFR for the SSD's that they use, but a 5% AFR for the HDD's that they use. Thats with ~150 SSD's (mainly Intel-branded) and ~2800 HDD's so a good but not a great sample size.

I suspect that many of the "commonly fails" SSD's are simply cutting things too close in the design in an attempt to compete on price with other companies that are also cutting things too close.

Re:probably not fast to market (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 2 years ago | (#40473683)

um... with most OS's, if a drive suddenly stops allowing you to write to it, it's dead to the OS. I'm sure that if you're technically savvy enough you can extract data from it. But try booting windows off a read-only drive that randomly stopped allowing writes the last time the OS was running. You aren't going to get very far, and I think the majority of people would consider that a dead drive.

Re:probably not fast to market (1)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 2 years ago | (#40475959)

But try booting windows off a read-only drive that randomly stopped allowing writes the last time the OS was running. You aren't going to get very far, and I think the majority of people would consider that a dead drive.

I'd consider that a poorly designed OS. What is it that absolutely positively has to be written to the hard drive as part of the boot process?

Re:probably not fast to market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40482995)

swap files, last boot=successful flag, disk dirty flag (for HDD's anyway, I don't know about SSD's) later on in the cycle might be hibernation/suspend file(s)

Re:probably not fast to market (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#40483063)

I seem to recall booting a computer with no hard drive using a Knoppix disk.

Re:probably not fast to market (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 2 years ago | (#40477313)

What the hell are you talking about?

Did you honestly think the actual claim was that you could go on using the unwritable drive as if nothing happened? Thats essentially the straw man you seem to be fighting.

Re:probably not fast to market (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40473529)

You have to understand that inside one of these "drives" is really a computer with a CPU running embedded software, I/O controllers talking to the SATA host bus, large RAM for buffering data, and a lower level flash interface to manipulate the actual flash storage. The device is then implementing a kind of filesystem on top of the raw flash, keeping track of free/erased flash blocks, wear levels, and the logical mapping to SATA block addresses.

The entire contents disappearing is not due to flash memory losing all its state at once. It is due to buggy firmware on these "drives" crapping itself and corrupting its own filesystem metadata. This is likely due to it not doing safe journaling, e.g. it performs unsafe flash write sequences that leave flash in an unexpected state if they are interrupted due to power loss or firmware bugs/resets. This is a bit like our old filesystems before they did journaled metadata for crash recovery.

I wish manufacturers would expose the flash storage and allow the OS to manage this layer, but they're too busy profiting from the illusion of firmware as just another part of the hardware. Everything seems to be trending towards more elaborate embedded software that we cannot review or maintain separately from the devices containing it, forcing artificial lifetime limits on the products.

Re:probably not fast to market (1)

Chirs (87576) | more than 2 years ago | (#40473607)

I wish manufacturers would expose the flash storage and allow the OS to manage this layer, but they're too busy profiting from the illusion of firmware as just another part of the hardware.

They do...such devices are called MTD or memory technology devices. Basically bare NAND/NOR flash exposed to the OS. There are special filesystems designed for working with it, like jffs2.

They're a pain in the butt to deal with, which is why hiding the details behind an abstraction layer and treating it like a disk is appealing.

Re:probably not fast to market (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#40476157)

I think we need to show people old tech so they can see things at a scale they can immediately understand. I've got an IBM3490-C11 tape drive with a controller that boots off a floppy that demonstrates the above very clearly (ie. it's clearly a system of it's own even though it's role is to read and write stuff for a computer at the other end of a SCSI cable).
It makes a handy table for other things which is why I still have the huge thing (and it will probably work for single tapes even though the autoloader is stuffed).

Re:probably not fast to market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40489705)

I wish manufacturers would expose the flash storage and allow the OS to manage this layer,

The only reason you wish for this is ignorance of how much worse things would be if we did them that way. The answer to the question "how do we manage the unreliability of flash memory?" changes quite a lot with each generation of flash, and the technical details always move in the direction of "You have to do a lot more stuff because the error rate and bizarre vendor-specific quirks just got much worse". Getting rid of abstraction layers which hide this insanity is exactly the wrong idea.

Do you really want to discover that your 1 year old motherboard cannot boot from the flash disk you just bought because the motherboard's firmware has no idea how to do error correction for this year's flash chips?

Your OS and firmware don't know much about how a magnetic disk arranges data internally, either. They too have very complex firmware because they too have to manage inherently unreliable processes. (You probably don't want to know the raw bit error rate of a modern disk!) Rotating magnetic disk firmware is quite different from flash disk firmware, but the motivation for hiding the gory details from the host system is exactly the same.

but they're too busy profiting from the illusion of firmware as just another part of the hardware.

What profits would those be again? It's a cost to the providers of flash disks to present you with a clean abstract block device interface. If they could somehow get away with offloading all that work onto other people, they'd love to do it, but with the exception of certain niches they cannot.

The exceptional niches are always embedded systems where the company integrating the system is trying to save money on mass production (it costs less per unit to eliminate a chip used only to control flash) and is willing to accept higher integration costs and less supply flexibility to get there.

Everything seems to be trending towards more elaborate embedded software that we cannot review or maintain separately from the devices containing it, forcing artificial lifetime limits on the products.

Welcome to the real world, kid. It's not a "trend", it happened decades ago.

And it's not a conspiracy to enforce artificial lifetime limits, either. If a device's firmware is too broken for the device to be useful today (i.e. a SSD which randomly loses data because of bugs, or perhaps has horrible performance problems), it will develop a negative reputation today, sales will not be good, and that company is likely to lose in the marketplace. (See: SSDs based on JMicron controllers and firmware.) If, on the other hand, the manufacturer fixes the firmware enough to make the device useful today, it'll still be useful tomorrow.

Re:probably not fast to market (1)

Teresita (982888) | more than 2 years ago | (#40474353)

Eventually, the failure rates will decrease to the point that flash memory has comparable reliability to spinning disks. Possibly even better.

Puppy Linux refreshes the persistent save file on a USB stick about every half hour, so you're not doing continuous write cycles, but other distros can't do this. Puppy is small enough to run entirely in RAM, even 128 MB.

Re:probably not fast to market (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#40477737)

That's a software workaround to a hardware problem. I'm talking about SSDs actually lasting as long as a hard drive under the same usage.

Re:probably not fast to market (1)

amorsen (7485) | more than 2 years ago | (#40471811)

Imagine a typical 500GB drive in a typical PC. Assuming 1000 write cycles and 10 years of life, that is somewhere around 130GB written per day. How many people do you know who write 130GB to their drive every day, and at the same time keep their drives for 10 years?

The write limit is only a problem for small drives, and the only reason that drives are small is that they are expensive right now.

Re:probably not fast to market (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 2 years ago | (#40472743)

Imagine a typical 500GB drive in a typical PC. Assuming 1000 write cycles and 10 years of life, that is somewhere around 130GB written per day. How many people do you know who write 130GB to their drive every day, and at the same time keep their drives for 10 years?

A system that average that much write volume per day isn't typically using commodity hard drives. Its using enterprise drives so that also changes the comparison quite a bit.

On that note, you often see anti-SSD slashdotters harping on "$0.05 per gigabyte" or some such, a price only seen in commodity drives. The shittiest enterprise SAS drives start at $0.15 per gigabyte, while prices higher than $1.00 per gigabyte (more than the current generation commodity SSD's) are actually considered normal.

Re:probably not fast to market (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 2 years ago | (#40476189)

There's a lot of commodity drives being used in RAID arrays doing that sort of volume in small to medium businesses. It probably adds up to a non-trival percentage of the total disk market.
I've only got SAS drives for the arrays where it makes a difference. In many cases application speed is more of a bottleneck or more than adequate speed is supplied by a cheaper array. If only one person is hitting an array at a time getting a few hundred megs of data and then going you don't need gold plated gear to supply what looks like instant access to the user. A dozen cheap and nasty drives in RAID6 look very fast when they are not being accessed continuously by a lot of people.

Re:probably not fast to market (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40483327)

Honest question here; how much cumulative data gets written/read/erased from the swap file in an average desktop machine over the course of the day? I seem to recall that back when SSD's were new and MTBF sucked, that was the first use case people mentioned where a SSD would die MUCH faster than it's rotating counterpart. Performance-wise; swap space is one of the best uses for an SSD, especially when they are still smaller and more expensive than HDDs.

My own machine has 3GB of RAM and 6GB of swap, the rare time I bother looking at swap usage is when I'm maxing out the machine, where 80% of RAM and 40-50% swap space usage is commonly seen. That's a little over 2GB of files held in swap. Assuming all files get replaced or re-written every ten minutes, that amounts to over 100GB of writes in a 7 hour workday. While my numbers admittedly lack anything even approaching rigour, they do show that it's not as hard as you might think to hit that 130GB/day write rate you mention.

Re:probably not fast to market (1)

amorsen (7485) | more than 2 years ago | (#40486453)

Swap generally does not actually get written all that much. If it did, you would notice that performance sucked (swap to SSD is still dead slow compared to RAM). It is most likely mostly full of stuff which hardly ever gets used.

sar -d on my own laptop shows that I write 90kB/s on average when the laptop is on. Assuming it is active 24/7, that is a measly 8GB/day. A look through older logs shows that some days I manage to reach 170kB/s, or 15GB/day worst case. Try sar and see for yourself.

Obviously it would be different if I did heavy photo or video editing, but if I did those things I would probably upgrade to more than 4GB of memory.

Wrong units. Please correct the summary. (2)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 2 years ago | (#40471595)

The summary says:

dig a one-kilometer-deep, three-kilometer-long trench with walls exactly three meters apart

Please avoid these strange and esoteric units and use units that are familiar to us. The approved units are football fields for lengths, Olympic size swimming pools for volume and libraries of congress for data volume, Rhode Island or Delaware for area.

Re:Wrong units. Please correct the summary. (1)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 2 years ago | (#40471685)

Texas and Alaska are also acceptable units.

Re:Wrong units. Please correct the summary. (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#40472597)

In the UK, we use Wales.

Re:Wrong units. Please correct the summary. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40473603)

In the UK, we use Wales.

Especially when describing the size of natural disasters for some reason

Re:Wrong units. Please correct the summary. (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#40478901)

Wishful thinking?

Re:Wrong units. Please correct the summary. (1)

burne (686114) | more than 2 years ago | (#40472023)

Oddly enough I don't even need a calculator to help you with that.

Two-thirds of a mile deep, two miles long, walls 10 feet apart.

Metric isn't strange and esoteric, it's all closely related. 1 Ampere is the current needed to generate 1 Newton of force between two 1 meter long sections of wire, 1 meter apart in a perfect vacuum.

Now try that with pounds-force, feet and Amperes. (0.2248 lbf, 3' 3.37" , 1A) (Yes, I needed a calculator for that..)

Re:Wrong units. Please correct the summary. (2)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 2 years ago | (#40472181)

In what way mile and feet are improveents over kilometer and meter? Lengths are always measure in number of football fields. The approved unit for current is number of cows that could be knocked out, as in, "enough juice to knockout 10 cows". Power is measured in medium sized city. As in, "enough power to run three medium sized cities". Force is not measurable, "it is strong" or "it is weak" is the best even the best Jedi knights could do. The midichlorians would make the meter's needle spin wildly. There is a record of someone claiming to have measured midichlorians themselves. But the report is not trustworthy because it comes from the PF [*] era, where even the respected figures had engaged in revisionist history.

Glossary: PF era: Post Fame era, historians usually place it after the release of ROJ.

Re:Wrong units. Please correct the summary. (1)

ChrisMaple (607946) | more than 2 years ago | (#40474817)

Miles and feet are better because they're only one syllable.

Re:Wrong units. Please correct the summary. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40475917)

Please avoid these strange and esoteric units and use units that are familiar to us. The approved units are football fields for lengths, Olympic size swimming pools for volume and libraries of congress for data volume, Rhode Island or Delaware for area.

No, football fields is used for area, not for length.
Length is typically measured in width of hair.

Re:Wrong units. Please correct the summary. (2)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 2 years ago | (#40476739)

See? This is the kind of highly technical nuanced discussions I love in slashdot.

Re:Wrong units. Please correct the summary. (1)

Ken_g6 (775014) | more than 2 years ago | (#40480023)

It looks like there are almost exactly 11 football field lengths in a kilometer. So that's an 11-football-field-length-deep, 33-football-field-length-long trench, with walls separated by roughly the average length of a rushing play. (Or 1/3 of a first down.)

Pleonasm at twelve o'clock.... (3, Insightful)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#40471603)

There's two semantic goofs in this submission, one in the title and the other in the first sentence, and neither was noticed or corrected by Soulskill. The phrase "vertical 3D transistors" is misleading, since a literal interpretation doesn't describe z-axis stacking and instead describes objects whose most significant dimension is oriented vertically; it would be more accurate to write "stacked 3D transistors". In the first sentence, the adjective phrase "vertically stacked" is certainly a pleonasm if there ever was one; the definition of "stacked" already describes a z-axis or "vertical" state. The use of the word "vertical" in both of those instances is ineffective semantics.

Re:Pleonasm at twelve o'clock.... (1)

bmo (77928) | more than 2 years ago | (#40471769)

>pleonasm

"Gee, Porgie, I didn't know you masturbated!" - Mudhead

--
BMO - Defoliating a victory garden sure works up an appetite.

Re:Pleonasm at twelve o'clock.... (2)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#40471857)

Wow, you really had to work hard to come up with a grammar Nazi response.

That is actually rather impressive. You get an A+

Re:Pleonasm at twelve o'clock.... (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#40472051)

The observation was easy, since I wasn't looking for a pleonasm... it leapt off the screen and attacked my eyes before I could look away. The hard work, as always for me, was organizing what needed to be said and how best to say it. Even though there's a novel's worth of material upstairs, I could never write a novel because it would take me decades to complete a first draft and I'd get distracted by some other shiny and wander off long before I finished. I don't think there's enough methylphenidate on the planet to get me through the process. So... yeah, I did have to work hard. This has taken me ten minutes.

Re:Pleonasm at twelve o'clock.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40473077)

So... yeah, I did have to work hard. This has taken me ten minutes.

That's more than one can say about the time and effort put into editing submissions around here.

Re:Pleonasm at twelve o'clock.... (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#40473293)

It's all about the quota and quantity, baby.

Re:Pleonasm at twelve o'clock.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40476673)

It's all about the quota and quanta, baby.

FTFY

Re:Pleonasm at twelve o'clock.... (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#40483721)

[Martin Short voice:] Your funny perversion is more lyrical, I must say!

/slowclap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40471699)

From one and a half year ago: http://newsroom.intel.com/docs/DOC-2032

"...the next few years" (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | more than 2 years ago | (#40471797)

Anywhere between 3 and 100... nice vague PR job there

Not the first... (3, Informative)

Sooner Boomer (96864) | more than 2 years ago | (#40471957)

I don't believe this is actually the *first* fab process using vertical structures (having actually RTFA). I worked at Texas Instruments in the mid-80's and most of the ALS (Advanced Low power Schottky) devices were of vertical well construction (as opposed to planar process or lateral junction bipolar construction). Looks like the sizes are a lot smaller, and the ratio of depth to width is a lot higher (a lot more junctions stacked in one well).

Re:Not the first... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40476379)

They're not flipping transistors sideways. They're stacking multiple planes of transistors.
Massive difference.

they probably won't even need investors (2)

slashmydots (2189826) | more than 2 years ago | (#40472127)

With all the SSD money coming in instead of just SD cards, flash drives, and RAM, I bet the main companies will be able to fund this technology and implement it without even the need for external investors. That'll speed things along more than other projects. A lot of vaporware disappears because of a lack of investment money being available of course.

These are for stacked memory cells (1)

Btarlinian (922732) | more than 2 years ago | (#40475395)

This random article I found has good pictures. This new chamber will allow for precise etch control from layer to layer. It's already in place at customer sites for R&D. (No company usually announces these products without having some placements or at least earlier marketing.) No one really knows how soon 3D NAND is coming; it depends on exactly how low they can scale 2D NAND, which is limited by the number of electrons you can store in a floating gate. 3D NAND designs usually use a charge trapping dielectric layer instead of polysilicon to store charge, the layers are then stacked to allow multiple layers of storage. But to contact each layer separately, you will need to etch through each layer in a sort of staircase pattern, which requires really good control of the etch process.

Re:These are for stacked memory cells (1)

Btarlinian (922732) | more than 2 years ago | (#40475425)

Of course I should actually link to the random article. http://savolainen.wordpress.com/2011/09/ [wordpress.com] This article also has some more information, but less cool diagrams. http://eetimes.com/electronics-news/4376121/Applied-tips-dielectric-etch-tool-for-3-D-NAND-production- [eetimes.com] Disclaimer: I work for Applied Materials (not for the etch division though).
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