Complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor (CMOS) (pronounced /ˈsiːmɒs/) is a technology for making integrated circuits. CMOS technology is used in microprocessors, microcontrollers, static RAM, and other digital logic circuits. CMOS technology is also used for a wide variety of analog circuits such as image sensors, data converters, and highly integrated transceivers for many types of communication. Frank Wanlass successfully patented CMOS in 1967 (US Patent 3,356,858).
CMOS is also sometimes referred to as complementary-symmetry metal–oxide–semiconductor (or COS-MOS). The words "complementary-symmetry" refer to the fact that the typical digital design style with CMOS uses complementary and symmetrical pairs of p-type and n-type metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistors (MOSFETs) for logic functions.
Two important characteristics of CMOS devices are high noise immunity and low static power consumption. Significant power is only drawn when the transistors in the CMOS device are switching between on and off states. Consequently, CMOS devices do not produce as much waste heat as other forms of logic, for example transistor-transistor logic (TTL) or NMOS logic, which uses all n-channel devices without p-channel devices. CMOS also allows a high density of logic functions on a chip.
The phrase "metal–oxide–semiconductor" is a reference to the physical structure of certain field-effect transistors, having a metal gate electrode placed on top of an oxide insulator, which in turn is on top of a semiconductor material. Aluminum was once used but now the material is polysilicon. Other metal gates have made a comeback with the advent of high-k dielectric materials in the CMOS process, as announced by IBM and Intel for the 45 nanometer node and beyond .