The Limits Of The Lifecycle


In the first article in my series on sustainability, I cited one estimate that attributed most of the electricity consumed by an integrated circuit to manufacturing, not use. Other analyses, however, come to exactly the opposite conclusion, with above 90% of lifetime energy consumption accounted for by the use phase. How can that be? The glib answer is that industry efforts to build more eff... » read more

Focus Shifts To Architectures


Chipmakers increasingly are relying on architectural and micro-architectural changes as the best hope for improving power and performance across a spectrum of markets, process nodes and price points. While discussion about the death of [getkc id="74" comment="Moore's Law"] predates the 1-micron process node, there is no question that it is getting harder for even the largest chipmakers to st... » read more

The Road To 5nm


There is strong likelihood that enough companies will move to 7nm to warrant the investment. How many will move forward to 5nm is far less certain. Part of the reason for this uncertainty is big-company consolidation. There are simply fewer customers left who can afford to build chips at the most advanced nodes. Intel bought Altera. Avago bought Broadcom. NXP bought Freescale. GlobalFoundrie... » read more

How To Build Systems In Package


The semiconductor industry is racing to define a series of road maps for semiconductors to succeed the one created by the ITRS, which will no longer be updated, including a brand new one focused on heterogeneous integration. The latest entry will establish technology targets for integration of heterogeneous multi-die devices and systems. It has the support of IEEE's Components, Packaging and... » read more

Plotting The Next Semiconductor Road Map


The semiconductor industry is retrenching around new technologies and markets as Moore's Law becomes harder to sustain and growth rates in smart phones continue to flatten. In the past, it was a sure bet that pushing to the next process node would provide improvements in power, performance and cost. But after 22nm, the economics change due to the need for multi-patterning and finFETs, and th... » read more

The Other Side Of Device Scaling


The push to 10nm and 7nm is a relatively straightforward path in PowerPoint. In multiple presentations across the semiconductor industry, in fact, it has been portrayed as a straight line progression spanning decades. While most chipmakers are aware that the cost per transistor has been increasing below 22nm, due to double patterning and the challenges in designing finFETs and dealing with d... » read more

What Happened To DSA?


Directed self-assembly (DSA) was until recently a rising star in the next-generation lithography (NGL) landscape, but the technology has recently lost some of its luster, if not its momentum. So what happened? Nearly five years ago, an obscure patterning technology called [gettech id="31046" t_name="DSA"] burst onto the scene and began to generate momentum in the industry. At about that t... » read more

Rethinking Processor Architectures


The semiconductor industry's obsession with clock speeds, cores and how many transistors fit on a piece of silicon may be nearing an end for real this time. The [getentity id="22048" comment="IEEE"] said it will develop the International Roadmap for Devices and Systems (IRDS), effectively setting the industry agenda for future silicon benchmarking and adding metrics that are relevant to specifi... » read more

5nm Fab Challenges


At a recent event, Intel presented a paper that generated sparks and fueled speculation regarding the future direction of the leading-edge IC industry. The company described a next-generation transistor called the nanowire FET, which is a finFET turned on its side with a gate wrapped around it. Intel’s nanowire FET, sometimes called a gate-all-around FET, is said to meet the device req... » read more

Technology Reboot Required


The International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) has produced reports outlining the major obstacles the electronics industry faces for a long time now. It attempts to project, with a 15-year horizon, the problems that need to be solved in order to take advantage of the complete design and manufacturing ecosystem. From this, early research efforts can be started. This enabled the E... » read more

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