Toward Autonomous Farming


While the automotive industry works diligently towards self-driving vehicles, it's possible the carrots you've eaten recently were semi-autonomously planted and harvested with Case IH equipment by Bolthouse Farms, one of the largest carrot growers in the United States. And the U.S. is hardly alone. Autonomous agriculture is coming everywhere, and it's happening much faster than autonomous ca... » 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

A New Memory Contender?


Momentum is building for a new class of ferroelectric memories that could alter the next-generation memory landscape. Generally, ferroelectrics are associated with a memory type called ferroelectric RAMs (FRAMs). Rolled out by several vendors in the late 1990s, FRAMs are low-power, nonvolatile devices, but they are also limited to niche applications and unable to scale beyond 130nm. While... » 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

Manufacturing Bits: Oct. 31


Tiny jet engines The Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems has developed the world´s smallest jet engine. Samuel Sánchez, a researcher from the Stuttgart, Germany-based R&D organization, officially received the Guinness World Record certification for the smallest nanotube travelling through fluid. The technology makes use of propulsion, which resembles the characteristics of a ... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: Sept. 12


Failure analysis for 2.5D/3D chips Imec has developed a new failure analysis method to localize interconnection failures in 2.5D/3D stack die with through-silicon vias (TSVs). This technique is called LICA, which stands for light-induced capacitance alteration. It addresses the reliability issues for 2.5D/3D devices in a non-destructive and cost-effective manner at the wafer level. For s... » read more

Cheaper Fan-Outs Ahead


Packaging houses continue to ramp up fan-out wafer-level packages in the market, but customers want lower cost fan-out products for a broader range of applications, such as consumer, RF and smartphones. So in R&D, the industry for some time has been developing next-generation fan-out using a panel-level format, a technology that could potentially lower the cost of fan-out. But there are ... » read more

System Bits: Aug. 1


Quantum Computing Takes A Step Forward UCLA physicists have developed a technique for measuring and controlling the energy differences of electron valley states in silicon quantum dots, which they view as a key component of quantum computing. Joshua Schoenfield, a UCLA graduate student and one of the paper's authors, explained that "an individual qubit can exist in a complex wave-like m... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Chipmakers United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC) has expanded its process portfolio within its joint fab venture in China. The Taiwan government has approved UMC’s application to license its 28nm technology to its subsidiary company in China--United Semiconductor. The subsidiary has been ramping up 40nm technology. “This licensing approval will help Fab 12X to ramp its manufacturing scale, e... » read more

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