Challenges In Making And Testing STT-MRAM


Several chipmakers are ramping up a next-generation memory type called STT-MRAM, but there are still an assortment of manufacturing and test challenges for current and future devices. STT-MRAM, or spin-transfer torque MRAM, is attractive and gaining steam because it combines the attributes of several conventional memory types in a single device. In the works for years, STT-MRAM features the ... » read more

Gaps Emerge In Automotive Test


Demands by automakers for zero defects over 18 years are colliding with real-world limitations of testing complex circuitry and interactions, and they are exposing a fundamental disconnect between mechanical and electronic expectations that could be very expensive to fix. This is especially apparent at leading-edge nodes, where much of the logic is being developed for AI systems and image se... » read more

Racing To The Edge


The race is on to win a piece of the edge, despite the fact that there is no consistent definition of where the edge begins and ends or how the various pieces will be integrated or ultimately tested. The edge concept originated with the Internet of Things, where the initial idea was that tens of billions of dumb sensors would communicate through gateways to the cloud. That idea persisted unt... » read more

New Approaches To Security


Different approaches are emerging to identify suspicious behavior and shut down potential breaches before they have a chance to do serious damage. This is becoming particularly important in markets where safety is an issue, and in AI and edge devices where the rapid movement of data is essential. These methods are a significant departure from the traditional way of securing devices through l... » read more

3D NAND Metrology Challenges Growing


3D NAND vendors face several challenges to scale their devices to the next level, but one manufacturing technology stands out as much more difficult at each turn—metrology. Metrology, the art of measuring and characterizing structures, is used to pinpoint problems and ensure yields for all chip types. In the case of 3D NAND, the metrology tools are becoming more expensive at each iteration... » read more

Gaps In 5G Test


Add one more industry to the long list that analysts expect 5G technology to disrupt—test. While the initial versions of this wireless technology will be little more than a faster version of 4G, concern is growing about exactly how to test the second phase of this technology, which will be based upon millimeter wave. A number of fundamental problems need to be addressed. Among them: T... » read more

Finding Defects In Chips With Machine Learning


Chipmakers are using more and different traditional tool types than ever to find killer defects in advanced chips, but they are also turning to complementary solutions like advanced forms of machine learning to help solve the problem. A subset of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning has been used in computing and other fields for decades. In fact, early forms of machine learning ha... » read more

Domain Expertise Becoming Essential For Analytics


Sensors are being added into everything, from end devices to the equipment used to make those sensors, but the data being generated has limited or no value unless it's accompanied by domain expertise. There are two main problems. One is how and where to process the vast amount of data being generated. Chip and system architectures are being revamped to pre-process more of that data closer to... » read more

Shedding Pounds In Automotive Electronics


Weight is emerging as a key concern for carmakers as more electronic circuitry is added into vehicles that are either fully or partially powered by batteries. As a result, chipmakers and OEMs are exploring alternative substrate materials, different types of sensor fusion, and new ways to reduce the number of wires. Adding pounds reduces driving range for electric or hybrid vehicles. The auto... » read more

Using Sensor Data To Improve Yield And Uptime


Semiconductor equipment vendors are starting to add more sensors into their tools in an effort to improve fab uptime and wafer yield, and to reduce cost of ownership and chip failures. Massive amounts of data gleaned from those tools is expected to provide far more detail than in the past about multiple types and sources of variation, including when and where that variation occurred and how,... » read more

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