Design Convergence For 7nm Chips Needs Big Data-Driven Multi-Physics Optimization


Advancements in silicon process technologies are enabling companies to deliver products with faster performance, lower power and greater functionality. These benefits are especially attractive for chip manufacturers servicing markets such as high-end mobile and enterprise computing. However, the cost in terms of both dollars and resources associated with bringing 7-nanometer (nm) finFET-based s... » read more

And The Award Goes To…


I like to look at what users find the most interesting topics, not because it directly influences what I write, but to get a sense of the subjects that are on most people's minds. Some of it comes as no surprise. Content about new fabrication technologies tends to blow everything else away. While it directly affects very few of us, I think we all want to know the general direction of the indust... » read more

7nm Power Issues And Solutions


Being able to achieve 35% speed improvement, 65% power reduction and 3.3X higher density makes adopting a 7nm process for your next system-on-chip (SoC) design seem like an easy decision. However, with $271 million in estimated total design cost and 500 man-years it would take to bring a mid-range 7nm SoC to production, companies need to carefully weigh the benefits against the cost of designin... » read more

10nm FinFET Market Heats Up


The 10nm finFET market is heating up in the foundry business amid the ongoing push to develop chips at advanced nodes. Not long ago, Intel announced its 10nm finFET process, with plans to ramp up the technology in 2017. Then, TSMC recently introduced its 10nm process, with plans to move into production by the fourth quarter of 2016. Now, Samsung Electronics said that it has commenced mass... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Chipmakers The finFET market is heating up. GlobalFoundries, Intel, Samsung and TSMC are ramping 16nm/14nm finFETs. And 10nm and 7nm finFETs are in the works. The market will shortly have a new competitor—Taiwan’s United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC). Some years ago, UMC licensed finFET technology from IBM. UMC has been a bit quiet about the 14nm finFET technology, but it has made si... » read more

Fins And Wires – How Do We Get To 5nm?


As the industry moves beyond 10nm to the 7nm and 5nm nodes, fundamental shifts are needed to address scaling challenges. Among the priority concerns driving industry changes, particularly with respect to materials and architecture, is the impact on transistor performance from rising parasitic resistance and parasitic capacitance or RC. I spoke about this industry dilemma recently at the SEMICON... » 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

Optical Metrology Solutions For 10nm Films Process Control Challenges


By Sridhar Mahendrakar (a), Alok Vaida (a), Kartik Venkataraman (b), Michael Lenahan (a), Steven Seipp (a), Fang Fanga (a), Shweta Saxena (a), Dawei Hu (b), Nam Hee Yoon (b), Da Song (b), Janay Camp (b), Zhou Ren (b). [a: GlobalFoundries; b:KLA-Tencor] Controlling thickness and composition of gate stack layers in logic and memory devices is critical to ensure transistor performance meets r... » read more

Designing SoC Power Networks


Designing a power network for a complex SoC is becoming critical for the success of the product, but most chips are still using old techniques that are ill-suited to the latest fabrication technologies, resulting in an expensive, overdesigned product. Not only is the power network as designed too large, but this has several knock-on effects that impact area, timing and power. In the first pa... » read more

Atomic Layer Etch Heats Up


The atomic layer etch (ALE) market is starting to heat up as chipmakers push to 10nm and beyond. ALE is a promising next-generation etch technology that has been in R&D for the last several years, but until now there has been little or no need to use it. Unlike conventional etch tools, which remove materials on a continuous basis, ALE promises to selectively and precisely remove targete... » read more

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