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

Mask Maker Worries Grow

Photomasks are becoming more complex and expensive at each node, thereby creating a number of challenges on several fronts. For one thing, the features on the [getkc id="265" kc_name="photomask"] are becoming smaller and more complex at each node. Second, the number of masks per mask-set are increasing as a result of multiple patterning. Third, it costs more to build and equip a new mask fab... » read more

Stepping Back From Scaling

Architectures, packaging and software are becoming core areas for semiconductor research and development, setting the stage for a series of shifts that will impact a large swath of the semiconductor industry. While there is still demand from the largest chipmakers for increased density at the next process node, the underlying economics for foundries, equipment vendors and IP developers are f... » read more

Addressing Process Variation And Reducing Timing Pessimism At 16nm And Below

At 16nm and below, on-chip variation (OCV) becomes a critically important issue. Increasing process variation makes a larger impact on timing, which becomes more pronounced in low-power designs with ultra-low voltage operating conditions. In this paper, we will discuss how a new methodology involving more accurate library characterization and variation modeling can reduce timing margins in libr... » read more

Abundant Change Ahead

There is nobody who would question the amazing ride that semiconductors have been on for the past 50 years. It has been described as the longest running exponential that humankind has ever been a part of—and it is not over yet. Still, the future is very likely to be substantially different from the past. It is almost natural for us to see a trend and assume it will continue. There have bee... » read more

Plotting The Next Semiconductor Road Map

The semiconductor industry is retrenching around new technologies and markets as Moore's Law becomes harder to sustain and growth rates in smart phones continue to flatten. In the past, it was a sure bet that pushing to the next process node would provide improvements in power, performance and cost. But after 22nm, the economics change due to the need for multi-patterning and finFETs, and th... » read more


The leading edge of the chip market increasingly is divided over whether to move to finFETs or whether to stay at 28nm using different materials and potentially even advanced packaging. Decisions about which approach to take frequently boil down to performance, power, form factor, cost, and the maturity of the individual technologies. All of those can vary by market, by vendor and by process... » read more

10nm Versus 7nm

The silicon foundry business is heating up, as vendors continue to ramp their 16nm/14nm finFET processes. At the same time, they are racing each other to ship the next technologies on the roadmap—10nm and 7nm. But the landscape is complicated, with each vendor taking a different strategy. [getentity id="22865" e_name="Samsung"], for one, plans to ship its 10nm [getkc id="185" kc_name="fi... » read more

Insider’s Guide To Fab Technology

Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss fab technology with Matt Paggi, vice president of advanced technology development at GlobalFoundries. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: What’s driving demand for semiconductors today? Paggi: You are aware of what the worldwide semiconductor revenue growth is this year. There are peaks and valleys in the worldwide semiconduc... » read more

TSMC: Onward to 5nm

TSMC’s financial results for the Q4 of 2015 were released in January and showed an 8.5% revenue drop compared to the previous year, and a 3.5% decrease compared to Q3 (all in NT$). For the full year though, TSMC said it had again achieved record sales, with revenue for the full year up over last year by 10.6% in NT$ (5.7% in US$). President and co-CEO Mark Liu reported that TSMC sees a red... » read more

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