Wafer Demand: Under Pressure But Still Growing

Wafer demand grew 10.7% in 2017 while total semiconductor units grew 13.4%. Due to the tight supply of silicon wafers and increased prices, most manufactures placed an even higher priority on improving yields. The industry’s focus on yield improvements is relentless but especially important when the cost of key input materials is on the rise. In 2017 the semiconductor products that con... » read more

The Analog Design Gap

By Benjamin Prautsch and Torsten Reich Sensors are everywhere. In the context of Industry 4.0 and IoT, we face an ever-increasing demand for high-quality sensing. Data acquisition is fundamental to adaptive production chains. So aggregating data isn't just some nice-to-have feature. It is the basis of modern production systems. But don’t we have sensors already? Isn’t everything fine?... » read more

Why All Nodes Won’t Work

A flood of new nodes, half-nodes and every number in between is creating confusion among chipmakers. While most say it's good to have choices, it's not clear which or how many of those choices are actually good. At issue is which [getkc id="43" kc_name="IP"] will be available for those nodes, how that IP will differ from other nodes in terms of power, performance, area and sensitivity to a v... » read more

Using Data Mining Differently

The semiconductor industry generates a tremendous quantity of data, but until very recently engineers had to sort through it on their own to spot patterns, trends and aberrations. That's beginning to change as chipmakers develop their own solutions or partner with others to effectively mine this data. Adding some structure and automation around all of this data is long overdue. Data mining h... » read more

Testing Analog Chips

The world of analog components is broad and diverse, and while testing analog chips may not take as long as running tests on complex SoCs, there are different requirements for analog devices. One type of chip that's seeing more application these days is analog microelectromechanical system devices. Automotive electronics call for a number of [getkc id="37" kc_name="analog"] chips, along with... » read more

Mixed-Signal Issues Worse At 10/7nm

Despite increasingly difficulty in scaling digital logic to 10/7nm, not all designs at the leading edge are digital. In fact, there are mixed-signal components in designs at almost all nodes down to 10/7nm. This may seem surprising because analog scaling has been an issue since about 90nm, but these are not traditional analog components. Analog IP increasingly includes highly integrated, mix... » read more

The Trouble With Models

Models are becoming more difficult to develop, integrate and utilize effectively at 10/7nm and beyond as design complexity, process variation and physical effects add to the number of variables that need to be taken into account. Modeling is a way of abstracting the complexity in various parts of the semiconductor design, and there can be dozens of models required for complex SoCs. Some are ... » read more

Noise At 7nm And Beyond

The digital and analog worlds always have been very different. Digital engineers see the world in terms of electrons and a well-defined set of numerical values. Their waves are discrete and squared off and their devices are often noisy when they turn on and off. Analog engineers think in terms of quiet, smooth waves, and they are very concerned about anything that can disrupt those waves, such ... » read more

Tech Talk: EM Crosstalk

Anand Raman, senior director at Helic, talks about the impact of electromagnetic interference on digital design at 10/7nm and beyond. Once confined to the analog space, noise is suddenly an issue at advanced nodes for all designs. At the root of the problem are smaller nodes, increased speed and higher levels of integration. https://youtu.be/hzZqK2lNJNQ » read more

Semiconductor Wafer Demand: Growing Pains

Semico Research is forecasting total semiconductor unit growth to exceed 13% this year, the first double-digit growth year since 2010. The exceptional unit growth is what the industry hopes for, but it does come with some growing pains. MOS logic, optoelectronics, MEMS and sensors, and even analog and discrete products are experiencing more than 10% unit growth in 2017. The challenge is that... » read more

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