Chenming Hu

National Medal of Technology and Innovation

Electronics

For pioneering innovations in microelectronics including reliability technologies, the first industry-standard model for circuit design, and the first 3-dimensional transistors, which radically advanced semiconductor technology.

For pioneering innovations in microelectronics including reliability technologies, the first industry-standard model for circuit design, and the first 3-dimensional transistors, which radically advanced semiconductor technology.

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Birth
January 1, 1947
Age Awarded
67
Key Contributions
finFET
Awarded by
Barack Obama
Education
University of California, Berkeley
National Taiwan University
Areas of Impact
Communication & Information
Energy & Environment
Affiliations
University of California, Berkeley
E

Each year, manufacturers of cell phones and computers launch updated products, intriguing consumers with a trio of promises: Better, faster, stronger.

Meanwhile, a rule called “Moore’s Law” predicts the pace of this innovation, stating that the number of transistors on a computer chip must double every 18 to 24 months to meet the ever-increasing demand for more powerful electronics.

Transistors manipulate the flow of electricity in computer chips, sending signals to make devices perform certain functions.

In 1999, Chenming Hu crammed a record number of transistors onto a chip with his invention of “FinFET,” short for Fin Field Effect Transistor.

The FinFET – named for a vertical fin-like component – takes up less surface area than conventional two-dimensional transistors, allowing engineers to fit more on each chip.

Since Hu’s invention, companies including Intel have used the FinFET to stretch the limits of digital processing capabilities with smaller, more powerful devices.

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