Exploring New Scaling Approaches


At the recent SPIE Photomask Technology + Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography 2017 conference, Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss semiconductor technology with Tsu-Jae King Liu, the TSMC Distinguished Professor in Microelectronics in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at the University of California at Berkeley. More specifically, Liu discussed some of the new... » read more

Using Advanced Statistical Analysis To Improve FinFET Transistor Performance


Trial and error wafer fabrication is commonly used to study the effect of process changes in the development of FinFET and other advanced semiconductor technologies. Due to the interaction of upstream unit process parameters (such as deposition conformality, etch anisotropy, selectivity) during actual fabrication, variations based upon process changes can be highly complex. Process simulators t... » read more

Training As A Strategic Weapon


In my last post, I discussed the topic of applying machine learning to the design of machine learning chips. I pointed out that one can achieve significant improvements in schedule predictability, PPA compliance and an overall reduction in program risk if machine learning is applied to the right kind of knowledge base. This is very real, and we are seeing the benefits of this approach daily. Bu... » read more

What’s After FinFETs?


Chipmakers are readying their next-generation technologies based on 10nm and/or 7nm finFETs, but it's still not clear how long the finFET will last, how long the 10nm and 7nm nodes for high-end devices will be extended, and what comes next. The industry faces a multitude of uncertainties and challenges at 5nm, 3nm and beyond. Even today, traditional chip scaling continues to slow as process ... » read more

2.5D, ASICs Extend to 7nm


The leading-edge foundry market is heating up. For example, GlobalFoundries, Intel, Samsung and TSMC have recently announced their new and respective processes. The new processes from vendors range anywhere from 10nm to 4nm, although the current battle is taking place at 10nm and/or 7nm. In fact, one vendor, GlobalFoundries, this week will describe more details about its previously-announced... » read more

Reworking Established Nodes


New technology markets and a flattening in smartphone growth has sparked a resurgence in older technology processes. For many of these up-and-coming applications, there is no compelling reason to migrate to the latest process node, and equipment companies and fabs are rushing to fill the void. As with all electronic devices, the focus is on cost-cutting. But because these markets are likely ... » read more

Analog’s Unfair Disadvantage


We live in an analog world, and yet digital has become the technology of choice. Mixed-signal solutions that used to contain significant amounts of analog, with just a small amount of digital signal processing, have migrated into systems where the analog to digital conversion happens at the very first opportunity. There are several reasons for this, and some of them build upon themselves. [g... » read more

Photoresist Shape In 3D


Things were easy for integrators when the pattern they had on the mask ended up being the pattern they wanted on the chip. Multi-patterning schemes such as Self-Aligned Double Patterning (SADP) and Self-Aligned Quadruple Patterning (SAQP) have changed that dramatically. Now, what you have on the mask determines only a part of what you will get at the end. You will only obtain your final product... » read more

Understanding How Small Variations In Photoresist Shape Significantly Impact Multi-Patterning Yield


Multi-patterning schemes such as Self-Aligned Double Patterning (SADP) and Self-Aligned Quadruple Patterning (SAQP) have been used to successfully increase semiconductor device density, circumventing prior physical limits in pattern density. However, the number of processing steps needed in these patterning schemes can make it difficult to directly translate a lithographic mask pattern to a fin... » read more

Moore’s Law: A Status Report


Moore's Law has been synonymous with "smaller, faster, cheaper" for the past 52 years, but increasingly it is viewed as just one of a number of options—some competing, some complementary—as the chip industry begins zeroing in on specific market needs. This does not make [getkc id="74" comment="Moore's Law"] any less relevant. The number of companies racing from 16/14nm to 7nm is higher t... » read more

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