Betting On Power And Deep Learning


Jim Hogan, managing partner of Vista Ventures, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to talk about what investments deliver the biggest returns, how quickly, and why there are so few investors in some big growth areas. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: What are you investing in these days and why? Hogan: I have about 15 active deals right now. I generally invest in thi... » read more

Making Manufacturing Sustainable For Chips


There is widespread agreement that fabs and manufacturers in general should operate in a sustainable way, but what exactly does that mean? And what concrete steps can fabs take toward that goal? Once we get past the simplistic “more sustainable is better,” things tend to get pretty fuzzy. Consider the definition of sustainability itself. Corporate responsibility reports and similar docum... » read more

Controlling Heat


Modeling on-chip thermal characteristics and chip-package interactions is becoming much more critical for advanced designs, but how to get there isn't always clear. Every chip, based on its target application, has a thermal design power (TDP) target. This is the typical power it can consume without overreaching the acceptable thermal limits in its intended environment. But in order to rate t... » read more

Trade War Looms Over Materials


It’s time to pay close attention to rare earths and raw materials--again. In fact, the supply chain teams and commodity buyers at aerospace, automotive and electronics companies may have some new and potentially big problems on their hands. For some time, the European Union (EU), the United States and other nations have been at odds with China over rare earths. China, which accounts for... » read more

Fins And Wires – How Do We Get To 5nm?


As the industry moves beyond 10nm to the 7nm and 5nm nodes, fundamental shifts are needed to address scaling challenges. Among the priority concerns driving industry changes, particularly with respect to materials and architecture, is the impact on transistor performance from rising parasitic resistance and parasitic capacitance or RC. I spoke about this industry dilemma recently at the SEMICON... » read more

Material And Process Challenges In A Changing Memory Landscape


Moore’s Law has fueled the semiconductor industry’s growth for decades. But as the complexity of scaling increases, extending the economics of Moore’s Law is becoming a challenge. One example illustrating the challenges of maintaining the economic benefits of Moore’s Law is the difficulty of IC chip patterning. Today, this requires an expensive litho scanner, a complicated spacer and... » read more

Many Paths To Hafnium Oxide


Equipment and materials suppliers often talk about the fragmentation of integrated circuit processing. While the number of manufacturers has gone down, the diversity of the underlying semiconductor market has increased. Low-power processors for mobile devices, non-volatile memory for solid state disks, and dedicated graphics processors all have different requirements from the traditional ind... » read more

The Economics Of Moore’s Law


By Marc Heyns I’m very optimistic about the continuation of Moore’s Law. But in saying that, I’m speaking about Moore’s Law purely as an economic law. I believe we’ll be able to offer increasing amounts of functionality at lower and lower costs. And technological innovations as well as advances in design and application will be crucial in realizing this. But I don’t believe a ne... » read more

The Human Bottleneck


The history of semiconductor technology can be neatly summed up as a race to eliminate the next bottleneck. This is often done one process node at a time across an increasingly complex ecosystem. And it usually involves a high level of frustration, because the biggest problems stem from areas where engineering teams generally can't do anything about them. Concerns over the years have ranged ... » read more

Reliability After Planar Silicon


Negative bias temperature instability (NBTI) poses a very serious reliability challenge for highly scaled planar silicon transistors, as previously discussed. However, the conventional planar silicon transistor appears to be nearing the end of its life for other reasons, too. The mobility of carriers in silicon limits switching speed even as it becomes more difficult to maintain sufficient elec... » read more

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