zeroK NanoTech: FIB Circuit Edit


Focused ion beam (FIB) circuit editing is an enabling technology that has been around for some time. Using a standard FIB tool, a chipmaker can basically edit portions of a circuit before it goes into production. It allows chipmakers to debug chips, cut traces, add metal connections and perform other functions. One startup, zeroK NanoTech, is putting a new and innovative twist on FIB circui... » read more

Why Every Chip Can Be Hacked With This Tool


As explained by Darth Vader in the classic Star Wars saga, the line between good and evil can be very thin. What is sometimes developed for the benefit technology, in the hands of the wrong people, can be devastating. That may seem a bit melodramatic when it comes to discussions around focused ion beam (FIB) applications in semiconductors, but the analogy is quite real. Focused ion beam tec... » read more

Defending Against Reverse Engineering


Most of us are familiar with the term “reverse engineering.” We generally know that it is used to extract data or designs from chips, but exactly how is pretty much a mystery. Today, chip security has very broad implications. The landscape of tomorrow will be cluttered with devices that are microprocessor-controlled, including some that are autonomous. Numbers vary, but the current esti... » read more

Mask Repair Enters The Spotlight


By Mark LaPedus For years, the biggest challenges in photomask manufacturing have revolved around the slow write times for electron-beam tools and soaring mask inspection costs. Now, photomask repair, a sometimes forgotten technology in the mask shop, is in the spotlight and turning into the clash of the titans. Mask repair involves the process of finding defects on a photomask and repairin... » read more