On-Chip Clock And Process Monitoring Using STAR Hierarchical System’s Measurement Unit


Functional safety is one of the most critical priorities for system-on-chips (SoCs) that are involved in automotive, aerospace and industrial applications. These requirements are driven by standards such as ISO 26262 and are the backbone of the design and testing of automotive ICs. Synopsys’ STAR Hierarchical System’s Measurement Unit helps ensure the accuracy of on-chip clock frequency and... » read more

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

Improving Automotive Reliability


Semiconductor reliability requirements are rapidly evolving. New applications such as ADAS/self-driving cars and drones are pushing the limits for system reliability. A mobile phone that overheats in your pocket is annoying. In automobiles, it's a much different story. Overheating can impact the operation of backup sensors, which alert the driver that a pedestrian or obstacle is behind them.... » 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: Fab Boom or Bust?


China’s semiconductor industry continues to expand at a frenetic pace. At present there are nearly two dozen new fab projects in China. Whether all these fab projects get off the ground is not entirely clear because the dynamics in China remain fluid. What is clear is the motivation behind this building frenzy—China is trying to reduce its huge trade imbalance in ICs. The country continu... » 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

Closing The Power Integrity Gap


Voltage drop has always been a significant challenge. As far back as 130nm, specialist tools were being used to ensure that enough local decoupling capacitance (decap) cells were inserted in addition to larger decaps implemented around the SoC. But advanced nodes are complicating matters and further increasing complexity. These technological challenges, which underlie the power, performance ... » read more

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