The continuous advancement of microelectronics in all fields of technology has become a basic fact of our daily life. Increasingly complex tasks are performed by computers, requiring more memory capacity and faster processing speeds. This constant need to develop more highly integrated microchips is expressed by Moore's law, which states that the capacity of the most highly developed random access memory (RAM) chips increases by a factor of four every three years. This is achieved by decreasing the size of devices on chips in each new generation by a factor of two and simultaneously increasing the size of the silicon chip (‘die’) by the same factor.

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DOI: 10.1016/S1369-7021(01)80253-4