Five Trends In IC Packaging


At one time, chip packaging was an afterthought. Chipmakers were more worried about IC design. Packaging was considered a mere commodity, which was simply used to house the design. More recently, though, chip packaging has become a hot topic. The IC design is still important, but packaging is a key part of the solution. In fact, the industry can go down two paths. The traditional way is t... » read more

Architecture First, Node Second


What a difference a node makes. A couple of rather important changes have occurred in the move from 16/14 to 10/7nm (aside from more confusing naming conventions). First, companies that require more transistors—processor companies such as [getentity id="22846" e_name="Intel"], AMD, [getentity id="22306" comment="IBM"] and [getentity id="22676" e_name="Qualcomm"]—have come to grips with t... » read more

22nm Process War Begins


Many foundry customers at the 28nm node and above are developing new chips and are exploring the idea of migrating to 16nm/14nm and beyond. But for the most part, those companies are stuck because they can’t afford the soaring IC design costs at advanced nodes. Seeking to satisfy a potential gap in the market, [getentity id="22819" comment="GlobalFoundries"], [getentity id="22846" e_name="... » read more

China Unveils Memory Plans


Backed by billions of dollars in government funding, China in 2014 launched a major initiative to advance its domestic semiconductor, IC-packaging and other electronic sectors. So far, though, the results are mixed. China is making progress in IC-packaging, but the nation’s efforts to advance its domestic logic and memory sectors are still a work in progress. In fact, China has yet to achi... » read more

Mobile Processors Move Beyond Phones


Mobile processors, also known as application processors, are well-known as the engines that run smartphones, tablet computers, and other wireless devices. But these chips increasingly are finding their way into autonomous vehicles, the Internet of Things, unmanned aerial vehicles, virtual reality, and other applications far beyond phone calls and text messages. Moreover, they are gaining in com... » read more

Multi-Patterning Issues At 7nm, 5nm


Continuing to rely on 193nm immersion lithography with multiple patterning is becoming much more difficult at 7nm and 5nm. With the help of various resolution enhancement techniques, optical lithography using a deep ultraviolet excimer laser has been the workhorse patterning technology in the fab since the early 1980s. It is so closely tied with the continuation of [getkc id="74" comment="Mo... » read more

Partitioning For Power


Examine any smartphone design today and most of the electronic circuitry is "off" most of the time. And regardless of how many processor cores are available, it's rare to use more than a couple of those cores at any point in time. The emphasis is shifting, though, as the mobility market flattens and other markets such as driver-assisted vehicles and IoT begin gaining traction. In a car, turn... » read more

To 10nm And Beyond


Hong Hao, senior vice president of the foundry business at Samsung Semiconductor, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to discuss the future direction of transistors, process technology, lithography and other topics. What follows are excerpts of those conversations. SE: Samsung recently rolled out its 10nm finFET technology. It appears that Samsung is the world’s first company to ship 1... » read more

7nm Market Heats Up


The 7nm finFET market is heating up in the foundry business amid the ongoing push to develop chips at advanced nodes. Not long ago, TSMC announced plans to enter the 7nm finFET market. In addition, Intel and Samsung are also separately planning to enter the 7nm finFET race. Now, GlobalFoundries is formally announcing its 7nm finFET technology. Slated for 2018, GlobalFoundries’ 7nm fin... » read more

What Transistors Will Look Like At 5nm


Chipmakers are currently ramping up 16nm/14nm finFET processes, with 10nm and 7nm just around the corner. The industry also is working on 5nm. TSMC hopes to deliver a 5nm process by 2020. GlobalFoundries, Intel and Samsung are doing R&D for that node. But 5nm technology presents a multitude of unknowns and challenges. For one thing, the exact timing and specs of 5nm remain cloudy. The... » read more

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