Near-Threshold Issues Deepen


Complex issues stemming from near-threshold computing, where the operating voltage and threshold voltage are very close together, are becoming more common at each new node. In fact, there are reports that the top five mobile chip companies, all with chips at 10/7nm, have had performance failures traced back to process variation and timing issues. Once a rather esoteric design technique, near... » read more

New Transistor Types Vs. Packaging


Plans are being formulated for the rollout of multiple types of gate-all-around FETs and literally dozens of advanced packaging options. The question now is which ones will achieve critical mass, because there aren't enough chips in the world to support all of them profitably. FinFETs, which were first introduced by Intel at 22nm, are running out of steam. While they will survive 10/7nm, and... » read more

Extending The IC Roadmap


An Steegen, executive vice president of semiconductor technology and systems at Imec, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to discuss IC scaling and chip packaging. Imec is working on next-generation transistors, but it is also developing several new technologies for IC packaging, such as a proprietary silicon bridge, a cooling technology and packaging modules. What follows are excerpts of t... » read more

Understanding The Effect Of Variability In Bulk FinFET Device Performance


2-D MOSFETs have proven difficult to scale down to 20nm and beyond. In their place, 3D FinFET transistors have emerged as novel devices that can scale down to lower node sizes. 10nm process finFETs are for SoC product mass production, and research is progressing towards a 7nm process finFET. FinFET transistors provide lower dynamic power consumption (due to flatter I-V curves), improved control... » read more

Analog Migration Equals Redesign


Analog design has never been easy. Engineers can spend their entire careers focused just on phase-locked loops (PLLs), because to get them right the functionality of circuits need to be understood in depth, including how they respond across different process corners and different manufacturing processes. In the finFET era, those challenges have only intensified for analog circuits. Reuse, fo... » read more

FinFET Metrology Challenges Grow


Chipmakers face a multitude of challenges in the fab at 10nm/7nm and beyond, but one technology that is typically under the radar is becoming especially difficult—metrology. Metrology, the art of measuring and characterizing structures, is used to pinpoint problems in devices and processes. It helps to ensure yields in both the lab and fab. At 28nm and above, metrology is a straightforward... » read more

Chipmakers Look Beyond Scaling


Gary Patton, CTO of GlobalFoundries, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to discuss the rollout of EUV, the rising cost of designing chips at the most advanced nodes, and the growing popularity of 22nm planar FD-SOI in a number of markets. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: You've just begun deploying EUV. Are you experiencing any issues? Patton: It's a very complicat... » read more

Early Chip-Package-System Thermal Analysis


Next-generation automotive, HPC and networking applications are pushing the requirements of thermal integrity and reliability, as they need to operate in extreme conditions for extended periods of time. FinFET designs have high dynamic power density, and power directly impacts the thermal signature of the chip. Thermal degradation typically occurs over an extended period of chip operation. ... » read more

More Nodes, New Problems


The rollout of leading-edge process nodes is accelerating rather than slowing down, defying predictions that device scaling would begin to subside due to rising costs and the increased difficulty of developing chips at those nodes. Costs are indeed rising. So are the number of design rules, which reflect skyrocketing complexity stemming from multiple patterning, more devices on a chip, and m... » read more

New Patterning Options Emerging


Several fab tool vendors are rolling out the next wave of self-aligned patterning technologies amid the shift toward new devices at 10/7nm and beyond. Applied Materials, Lam Research and TEL are developing self-aligned technologies based on a variety of new approaches. The latest approach involves self-aligned patterning techniques with multi-color material schemes, which are designed for us... » read more

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