Variation Spreads At 10/7nm


Variation between different manufacturing equipment is becoming increasingly troublesome as chipmakers push to 10/7nm and beyond. Process variation is a well-known phenomenon at advanced nodes. But some of that is actually due to variations in equipment—sometimes the exact same model from the same vendor. Normally this would fall well below the radar of the semiconductor industry. But as t... » read more

Overlay Challenges On The Rise


The overlay metrology equipment market is heating up at advanced nodes as the number of masking layers grows and the size of the features that need to be aligned continue to shrink. Both ASML and KLA-Tencor recently introduced new [getkc id="307" kc_name="overlay"] metrology systems, seeking to address the increasing precision required for lines, cuts and other features on each layer. At 10/... » read more

The Return Of Body Biasing


Body biasing is making a comeback across a wide swath of process nodes as designers wrestle with how to build mobile devices with more functionality and longer battery life. Consider an ultra-low-power IoT device with a wireless sensor, for example, which is meant to last for years without changing a battery. Body biasing can be used to create an ultra-low-leakage sleep state. “In that ... » read more

New Drivers For I/O


Interface standards are on a tear, and new markets are pushing the standards in several directions at the same time. The result could be a lot more innovation and some updates in areas that looked to be well established. Traditionally, this has been a sleepy and predictable part of the industry with standards bodies producing updates to their interfaces at a reasonable rate. Getting data int... » read more

Lots Of Little Knobs For Power


Dynamic power is becoming a much bigger worry at new nodes as more finFETs are packed on a die and wires shrink to the point where resistance and capacitance become first-order effects. Chipmakers began seeing dynamic power density issues with the first generation of [getkc id="185" kc_name="finFETs"]. While the 3D transistor structures reduced leakage current by providing better gate contro... » read more

The Next Phase Of Machine Learning


Machine learning is all about doing complex calculations on huge volumes of data with increasing efficiency, and with a growing stockpile of success stories it has rapidly evolved from a rather obscure computer science concept into the go-to method for everything from facial recognition technology to autonomous cars. [getkc id="305" kc_name="Machine learning"] can apply to every corporate fu... » read more

Mixed Messages For Mixed-Signal


There is no such thing as a purely digital design at advanced nodes today. Even designs that have no [getkc id="37" kc_name="analog"] content are likely relying on [getkc id="38" kc_name="mixed-signal"] components such as SerDes for communications, or voltage regulators for adaptive power control. But the days of purposely attempting to integrate everything including analog and RF onto a single... » read more

Litho Options For Panel Fan-out


Several packaging houses are inching closer to production of panel-level fan-out packaging, a next-generation technology that promises to reduce the cost of today’s fan-out packages. In fact, ASE, Nepes, Samsung and others already have installed the equipment in their panel-level fan-out lines with production slated for 2018 or so. But behind the scenes, panel-level packaging houses contin... » read more

Chiplets Gaining Steam


Building chips from pre-verified chiplets is beginning to gain traction as a way of cutting costs and reducing time to market for heterogeneous designs. The chiplet concept has been on the drawing board for some time, but it has been viewed more as a possible future direction than a necessary solution. That perception is beginning to change as complexity rises, particularly at advanced nodes... » read more

Where MEMS Can Boldly Go Now


MEMS chips are being designed to go into the human body as biosensors, which will require unique packaging. And as demand grows for assisted and automated driving, MEMS devices also are finding new use cases in automotive electronics, their chief market segment prior to the millennium. Pressure sensors, such as those that monitor the air pressure in tires, remain the biggest type of [getkc i... » read more

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