The Future Of FinFETs


The number of questions about finFETs is increasing—particularly, how long can they continue to be used before some version of gate-all-around FET is required to replace them. This discussion is confusing in many respects. For one thing, a 7nm finFET for TSMC or Samsung is not the same as a 7nm finFET for Intel or GlobalFoundries. There are a bunch of other nodes being proposed, as well, i... » read more

What’s Next in 3D NAND?


In 2018, the industry needs to keep a close eye on 3D NAND as the vendor base is in the midst of some major changes. The changes involve several partnerships, including the Toshiba/Western Digital and Intel/Micron duos. It also impacts the other 3D NAND players, namely Samsung and SK Hynix. But first, demand for NAND flash memory remains robust due to the onslaught of data in systems. ... » read more

The Advantages Of FD-SOI Technology


If my memory serves me well, it was at the 1989 Device Research Conference where the potential merits of SOI (Silicon on Insulator) technology were discussed in a heated evening panel discussion. At that panel discussion, there were many advocates for SOI, as well as many naysayers. I didn’t really think more about SOI technology until the mid-nineties, when I was sitting in a meeting where t... » read more

Automotive IC Industry Trends


A trend that will continue in 2018 is the rise of the smart, autonomous car. As consumers and regulators demand more capability from automobiles, semiconductors have become the most critical part of these innovative solutions. But these chips, designed to bring safety and economy to the car’s operation, also bring complexity and higher requirements for reliability, requirements that have not ... » read more

Terrific Year, Terrific Outlook


2017 was a terrific year. Chip revenues closed at nearly $440B, an impressive 22 percent year-over-year growth. The equipment industry surpassed revenue levels last reached in the year 2000. Semiconductor equipment posted sales of nearly $56B and semiconductor materials $48B in 2017. For semiconductor equipment, this was a giant 36 percent year-over-year growth. Samsung, alone, invested $26... » read more

Robots Get Social


From Star Trek’s Data to Star Wars’ C-3PO, the idea of humanoid robots has fascinated people for years. Back in the real world, robots build automobiles in factories, mow lawns, and even assist in complex heart surgery. Meanwhile, the use of androids like Data is approaching reality, as semiconductor and semiconductor-related devices like low-power microprocessors, 3D sensors, accelerometer... » read more

5G Is Coming


When I returned from the holidays, I thought I had entered a time warp. Did I sleep through January and wake up near the end of February? I expected to see the usual deluge of news about the gadgets and gear that will be featured at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2018). Instead, I’ve seen story after story about next-generation 5G mobile networks—typically the stuff of Mobile W... » read more

The Future Of AI Is In Materials


I had the pleasure of hosting an eye-opening presentation and Q&A with Dr. Jeff Welser of IBM at a recent Applied Materials technical event in San Francisco. Dr. Welser is Vice President and Director of IBM Research's Almaden lab in San Jose. He made the case that the future of hardware is AI. At Applied Materials we believe that advanced materials engineering holds the keys to unlocking... » read more

How Good Is 95% Accuracy?


Conventional, deterministic computers don’t make mistakes. They execute a predictable series of computations in response to any given input. The input might be mistaken. The logic behind the operations that are performed might be flawed. But the computer will always do exactly what it has been told to do. When unexpected results occur, they can be attributed to the programmer, the system manu... » read more

What the Experts Think


Coventor recently sponsored an expert panel discussion at IEDM 2017 to discuss how we might advance the semiconductor industry into the next generation of technology. The panel discussed alternative methods to solve fundamental problems of technology scaling, using advances in semiconductor architectures, patterning, metrology, advanced process control, variation reduction, co-optimization and ... » read more

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