International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors

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The International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) is a set of documents produced by a group of semiconductor industry experts. These experts are representative of the sponsoring organisations which include the Semiconductor Industry Associations of the United States, Europe, Japan, China, South Korea and Taiwan.


The documents produced carry this disclaimer: "The ITRS is devised and intended for technology assessment only and is without regard to any commercial considerations pertaining to individual products or equipment".

The documents represent best opinion on the directions of research and time-lines up to about 15 years into the future for the following areas of technology:

As of 2017, ITRS is no longer being updated. Its successor is the International Roadmap for Devices and Systems.


Constructing an integrated circuit, or any semiconductor device, requires a series of operations—photolithography, etching, metal deposition, and so on. As the industry evolved, each of these operations were typically performed by specialized machines built by a variety of commercial companies. This specialization may potentially make it difficult for the industry to advance, since in many cases it does no good for one company to introduce a new product if the other needed steps are not available around the same time. A technology roadmap can help this by giving an idea when a certain capability will be needed. Then each supplier can target this date for their piece of the puzzle. [1] [2] [3]

With the progressive externalization of production tools to the suppliers of specialized equipment, the need arose for a clear roadmap to anticipate the evolution of the market and to plan and control the technological needs of IC production. For several years, the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) gave this responsibility of coordination to the United States, which led to the creation of an American style roadmap, the National Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (NTRS). [4]

The first semiconductor roadmap, published by the SIA in 1993. SemiconductorRoadmap.PNG
The first semiconductor roadmap, published by the SIA in 1993.

In 1998, the SIA became closer to its European, Japanese, Korean, and Taiwanese counterparts by creating the first global roadmap: The International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS). This international group has (as of the 2003 edition) 936 companies which were affiliated with working groups within the ITRS. [5] The organization was divided into Technical Working Groups (TWGs) which eventually grew in number to 17, each focusing on a key element of the technology and associated supply chain. Traditionally, the ITRS roadmap was updated in even years, and completely revised in odd years. [6]

The last revision of the ITRS Roadmap was published in 2013. The methodology and the physics behind the scaling results for 2013 tables is described in transistor roadmap projection using predictive full-band atomistic modeling which covers double gate MOSFETs over the 15 years to 2028.

With the generally acknowledged sunsetting of Moore's law and, ITRS issuing in 2016 its final roadmap, a new initiative for a more generalized roadmapping was started through the IEEE's Rebooting Computing initiative, named the International Roadmap for Devices and Systems (IRDS). [7]

ITRS 2.0

In April 2014, the ITRS committee announced it would be reorganizing the ITRS roadmap to better suit the needs of the industry. The plan was to take all the elements included in the 17 technical working groups and map them into seven focus topics: [6]

Chapters on each topic were published in 2015. [8] [9]

Related Research Articles

Integrated circuit Electronic circuit

An integrated circuit or monolithic integrated circuit is a set of electronic circuits on one small flat piece of semiconductor material that is normally silicon. The integration of large numbers of tiny MOS transistors into a small chip results in circuits that are orders of magnitude smaller, faster, and less expensive than those constructed of discrete electronic components. The IC's mass production capability, reliability, and building-block approach to integrated circuit design has ensured the rapid adoption of standardized ICs in place of designs using discrete transistors. ICs are now used in virtually all electronic equipment and have revolutionized the world of electronics. Computers, mobile phones, and other digital home appliances are now inextricable parts of the structure of modern societies, made possible by the small size and low cost of ICs.

Semiconductor device fabrication Manufacturing process used to create integrated circuits

Semiconductor device fabrication is the process used to manufacture semiconductor devices, typically the metal–oxide–semiconductor (MOS) devices used in the integrated circuit (IC) chips that are present in everyday electrical and electronic devices. It is a multiple-step sequence of photolithographic and chemical processing steps during which electronic circuits are gradually created on a wafer made of pure semiconducting material. Silicon is almost always used, but various compound semiconductors are used for specialized applications.

Moores law Obervation on the growth of integrated circuit capacity

Moore's law is the observation that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit (IC) doubles about every two years. Moore's law is an observation and projection of a historical trend. Rather than a law of physics, it is an empirical relationship linked to gains from experience in production.

MOSFET Transistor used for amplifying or switching electronic signals.

The metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistor, also known as the metal–oxide–silicon transistor, is a type of insulated-gate field-effect transistor (IGFET) that is fabricated by the controlled oxidation of a semiconductor, typically silicon. The voltage of the covered gate determines the electrical conductivity of the device; this ability to change conductivity with the amount of applied voltage can be used for amplifying or switching electronic signals.

CMOS Technology for constructing integrated circuits

Complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS), also known as complementary-symmetry metal–oxide–semiconductor (COS-MOS), is a type of metal–oxide–semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET) fabrication process that uses complementary and symmetrical pairs of p-type and n-type MOSFETs for logic functions. CMOS technology is used for constructing integrated circuit (IC) chips, including microprocessors, microcontrollers, memory chips, and other digital logic circuits, and replaced earlier transistor-transistor logic (TTL) technology.

Bipolar CMOS (BiCMOS) is a semiconductor technology that integrates two formerly separate semiconductor technologies, those of the bipolar junction transistor and the CMOS gate, in a single integrated circuit device.

A mixed-signal integrated circuit is any integrated circuit that has both analog circuits and digital circuits on a single semiconductor die. In real-life applications mixed-signal designs are everywhere, for example, smart mobile phones. Mixed-signal ICs also process both analog and digital signals together. For example, an analog-to-digital converter is a mixed-signal circuit. Mixed-signal circuits or systems are typically cost-effective solutions for building any modern consumer electronics applications.

Semiconductor device modeling Modeling semiconductor behavior

Semiconductor device modeling creates models for the behavior of the electrical devices based on fundamental physics, such as the doping profiles of the devices. It may also include the creation of compact models, which try to capture the electrical behavior of such devices but do not generally derive them from the underlying physics. Normally it starts from the output of a semiconductor process simulation.

Through-silicon via Metal-plated holes used to vertically and electrically connect several dies that are atop each other

In electronic engineering, a through-silicon via (TSV) or through-chip via is a vertical electrical connection (via) that passes completely through a silicon wafer or die. TSVs are high-performance interconnect techniques used as an alternative to wire-bond and flip chips to create 3D packages and 3D integrated circuits. Compared to alternatives such as package-on-package, the interconnect and device density is substantially higher, and the length of the connections becomes shorter.

A three-dimensional integrated circuit is a MOS integrated circuit (IC) manufactured by stacking silicon wafers or dies and interconnecting them vertically using, for instance, through-silicon vias (TSVs) or Cu-Cu connections, so that they behave as a single device to achieve performance improvements at reduced power and smaller footprint than conventional two dimensional processes. The 3D IC is one of several 3D integration schemes that exploit the z-direction to achieve electrical performance benefits in microelectronics and nanoelectronics.

In integrated circuits, optical interconnects refers to any system of transmitting signals from one part of an integrated circuit to another using light. Optical interconnects have been the topic of study due to the high latency and power consumption incurred by conventional metal interconnects in transmitting electrical signals over long distances, such as in interconnects classed as global interconnects. The International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) has highlighted interconnect scaling as a problem for the semiconductor industry.

Microelectromechanical system (MEMS) oscillators are timing devices that generate highly stable reference frequencies, which can measure time. These reference frequencies may be used to sequence electronic systems, manage data transfer, define radio frequencies, and measure elapsed time. The core technologies used in MEMS oscillators have been in development since the mid-1960s, but have only been sufficiently advanced for commercial applications since 2006. MEMS oscillators incorporate MEMS resonators, which are microelectromechanical structures that define stable frequencies. MEMS clock generators are MEMS timing devices with multiple outputs for systems that need more than a single reference frequency. MEMS oscillators are a valid alternative to older, more established quartz crystal oscillators, offering better resilience against vibration and mechanical shock, and reliability with respect to temperature variation.

Adrian (Mihai) Ionescu is a full Professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL).
He received the B.S./M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the Polytechnic Institute of Bucharest, Romania and the National Polytechnic Institute of Grenoble, France, in 1989 and 1997, respectively. He has held staff and/or visiting positions at LETI-CEA, Grenoble, France, LPCS-ENSERG, Grenoble, France and Stanford University, USA, in 1998 and 1999. He was a visiting professor with Tokyo Institute of Technology in 2012 and 2016.

The IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) is an annual micro- and nanoelectronics conference held each December that serves as a forum for reporting technological breakthroughs in the areas of semiconductor and related device technologies, design, manufacturing, physics, modeling and circuit-device interaction.

Beyond CMOS possible future digital logic technologies beyond the CMOS scaling limits which limits device density and speeds due to heating effects

Beyond CMOS refers to the possible future digital logic technologies beyond the CMOS scaling limits which limits device density and speeds due to heating effects.

IEEE Rebooting Computing initiative to rethink the concept of computing

IEEE Rebooting Computing is a global initiative launched by IEEE that proposes to rethink the concept of computing through a holistic look at all aspects of computing, from the device itself to the user interface. As part of its work, IEEE Rebooting Computing provides access to various resources like conferences and educational events, feature and scholarly articles, reports, and videos.

Bijan Davari is an Iranian-American engineer. He is an IBM Fellow and Vice President at IBM Thomas J Watson Research Center, Yorktown Hts, NY. His pioneering work in the miniaturization of semiconductor devices changed the world of computing. His research led to the first generation of voltage-scaled deep-submicron CMOS with sufficient performance to totally replace bipolar technology in IBM mainframes and enable new high-performance UNIX servers. He is credited with leading IBM into the use of copper and silicon on insulator before its rivals. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineers and is known for his seminal contributions to the field of CMOS technology. He is an IEEE Fellow, recipient of the J J Ebers Award in 2005 and IEEE Andrew S. Grove Award in 2010. At the present time, he leads the Next Generation Systems Area of research.

The International Roadmap for Devices and Systems, or IRDS, is a set of predictions about likely developments in electronic devices and systems. The IRDS was established in 2016 and is the successor to the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors. These predictions are intended to allow coordination of efforts across academia, manufacturers, equipment suppliers, and national research laboratories. The IEEE specifies the goals of the roadmap as:

Bruno Murari is an Italian inventor. During his career he has patented about 200 inventions in the field of circuit design, power technologies and MEMS devices. He is the only Italian to have received the Elmer A. Sperry Award., which is awarded to those who have distinguished themselves with proven engineering contributions to advance the field of transport. He was defined "legendary analog engineer" and "father" of the BCD technology

RF CMOS is a metal–oxide–semiconductor (MOS) integrated circuit (IC) technology that integrates radio-frequency (RF), analog and digital electronics on a mixed-signal CMOS RF circuit chip. It is widely used in modern wireless telecommunications, such as cellular networks, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS receivers, broadcasting, vehicular communication systems, and the radio transceivers in all modern mobile phones and wireless networking devices. RF CMOS technology was pioneered by Pakistani engineer Asad Ali Abidi at UCLA during the late 1980s to early 1990s, and helped bring about the wireless revolution with the introduction of digital signal processing in wireless communications.


  1. Gargini, P. (2000). "The International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS): Past, present and future". 22nd Annual Gallium Arsenide Integrated Circuit (GaAs IC) Symposium. IEEE. pp. 3–5. doi:10.1109/GAAS.2000.906261.
  2. Schaller, R.R. (2004). Technological innovation in the semiconductor industry: a case study of the international technology roadmap for semiconductors (ITRS) (PDF) (Ph.D.). George Mason University.
  3. Schaller, R. (2001). "Technological innovation in the semiconductor industry: a case study of the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS)". Management of Engineering and Technology, 2001. PICMET'01. Portland International Conference on. 1. IEEE. p. 195. doi:10.1109/PICMET.2001.951917. Article summarizing thesis of the same name.
  4. Spencer, W.J.; Seidel, T.E. (1995). "National technology roadmaps: the US semiconductor experience". Solid-State and Integrated Circuit Technology, 1995 4th International Conference on. IEEE. pp. 211–220. doi:10.1109/ICSICT.1995.500069.
  5. Waldner, Jean-Baptiste (2007). Nanocomputers and Swarm Intelligence. London: ISTE. pp. 50–53. ISBN   978-1-84704-002-2.
  6. 1 2 von Trapp, Francoise. "Executive Interview: Bill Bottoms Talks about Revamping the ITRS Roadmap". 3D InCites. 3D InCites. Retrieved April 14, 2015.
  7. IRDS launch announcement 4 MAY 2016
  8. ITRS 2.0 reports
  9. ITRS 2.0 chapters

Further reading