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Best idea beyond 2011? 3D integrated circuits Sector

|Includes:IBM, MSFT, Nintendo Co., Ltd. ADR (NTDOY), NVMI, SNE, SOX, SOXL, SOXX, STM, TECL
It is one sector that is expanding quickly. Companies that are making the move into the sector today will be the first to profit from the nearterm boom in this sector. But the trick is to get your foot in the door before everyone else also does. Being first in the door has major advantages, It will help customers evaluate your circuits before competitors and once longterm contracts are signed its harder for competitors to take your market share. The sector is just now beginning to ramp up but by 2013 it should really take off.

3D without glasses is possible and Nintendo proves it, this is what is going to ramp up 3D circuits beyond 2011.

Nintendo: Virtual Boy's failure inspired 3DS creation
Friday 7-Jan-2011 10:54 AM

Company discusses long-held desire for three dimensions

Nintendo's experimental Virtual Boy has long been deemed a commercial flop since its launch in 1995, but its legacy may yet prove to be one of the company's great successes.

According to Nintendo boss Saturo Iwata and design guru Shigeru Miyamoto, the hardware - which completely covered the eyes of players - was a milestone in the firm's quest to provide 3D gaming.

However, it suffered lacklustre sales, which helped the company decide that if they were going to release a fully-functioning 3D console, it had to come without "goggles".

Nintendo chief Iwata revealed that the platform holder experimented with both a 3D-ready version of GameCube and GBA SP.

"[Even] when Nintendo failed with Virtual Boy, the company stubbornly persisted [with 3D]," he said in the latest edition of the Iwata Asks Q&A, "putting 3D circuits in Nintendo GameCube and making a Game Boy Advance system with a built in 3D LCD."

He added: "A sample screen used in the Nintendo 3DS to illustrate how you can see three-dimensional images without special glasses was functioning on the Game Boy Advance SP system."

Miyamoto said that former Nintendo chairman Hiroshi Yamauchi was always keen for games that "jumped out" of the screen - as far back as the Famicon (Pending:SNES).

He commented: "As we were trying things out [with GameCube, GBA SP and Virtual Boy], one thing we decided was to make it glasses-free. We flat out decided that 3D should be enjoyed without using special glasses or goggles."

Iwata concluded: "If it hadn't been for the failure of the Virtual Boy system, so many of our people might not have said, 'As long as special glasses are necessary, 3D is impossible.'"

Miyamoto stated his belief that the Virtual Boy was a success when viewed as a "toy", and is only consider a failure as fans and industry partners expected it to be a "games console".

Nintendo 3DS is due for release in Japan next month and the EU and US before the end of March.


Three-dimensional (3D) integrated circuits (ICs), which contain multiple layers of active devices, have the potential to dramatically enhance chip performance, functionality, and device packing density. They also provide for microchip architecture and may facilitate the integration of heterogeneous materials, devices, and signals. However, before these advantages can be realized, key technology challenges of 3D ICs must be addressed. More specifically, the processes required to build circuits with multiple layers of active devices must be compatible with current state-of-the-art silicon processing technology. These processes must also show manufacturability, i.e., reliability, good yield, maturity, and reasonable cost. To meet these requirements, IBM has introduced a scheme for building 3D ICs based on the layer transfer of functional circuits, and many process and design innovations have been implemented. This paper reviews the process steps and design aspects that were developed at IBM to enable the formation of stacked device layers. Details regarding an optimized layer transfer process are presented, including the descriptions of 1) a glass substrate process to enable through-wafer alignment; 2) oxide fusion bonding and wafer bow compensation methods for improved alignment tolerance during bonding; 3) and a single-damascene patterning and metallization method for the creation of high-aspect-ratio (6:1 < AR < 11:1) contacts between two stacked device layers. This process provides the shortest distance between the stacked layers (<2 µm), the highest interconnection density (>108 vias/cm2), and extremely aggressive wafer-to-wafer alignment (submicron) capability.