Functional Safety Issues Rising


Developing semiconductors for safety-critical markets such as automotive, industrial and medical involves a growing list of extra steps that need to be taken pre- and post-manufacturing to ensure product integrity, reliability and security. This is causing several significant changes: • Designs are becoming much more complicated because they require such features as failover and redundan... » read more

Thinking Much Bigger


For the better part of the past decade the focus has been on integrating an increasing number of smaller components on a piece of silicon. It's time to start thinking much bigger. While there is still plenty of work to be done building more powerful processors, or networks of connected processors on a chip or in a package, new opportunities are opening up in markets such as automotive, medic... » read more

Ignoring Anomalies


Everyone has been in this situation at some point in their career—you have a data point that is so far out of the ordinary that you dismiss it as erroneous. You blame the test equipment, or the fact that it is Friday afternoon and happy hour started 10 minutes ago. In most cases it may never happen again and nobody will ever notice that you quietly swept it under the rug. But in doing so, ... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: June 20


Batteries from scrap metal Scientists at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Jilin University found a method to transform rusty stainless steel mesh into electrodes with outstanding electrochemical properties that make them ideal for potassium-ion batteries. The rust is converted directly into a compact layer with a grid structure that can store potassium ions. A coating of reduced graphite... » read more

Foundry Wars, Take Two


Samsung, GlobalFoundries, TSMC and Intel all have declared their intention to fill in nearly every node possible with multiple processes, different packaging options, and new materials. In fact, the only number that hasn't been taken so far is 9nm. It's not that one foundry's 10nm is the same as another's. Each company defines its nodes differently, and these days comparing nodes is almost m... » read more

Building Functional Safety And Security Into Medical IoT Devices: IEC 62304 Conformance


As the IoT marches on – security and safety issues continue to be a top priority for embedded systems developers. Building security into your medical IoT device not only helps to reduce the chance of a data breach or cyber attack, but also introduces new ways to optimize software, reduces time to market, and increases the potential for product innovation in a very competitive global market. ... » read more

Quality Issues Widen


As the amount of semiconductor content in cars, medical and industrial applications increases, so does the concern about how long these devices will function properly—and what exactly that means. Quality is frequently a fuzzy concept. In mobile phones, problems have ranged from bad antenna placement, which resulted in batteries draining too quickly, to features that take too long to load. ... » read more

What Next For OSATs


Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss IC-packaging and business trends with Tien Wu, chief operating officer at Taiwan’s Advanced Semiconductor Engineering ([getentity id="22930" comment="ASE"]), the world’s largest outsourced semiconductor assembly and test (OSAT) vendor. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: What’s the outlook for the IC industry in 2017? Wu:... » read more

The Path To (Virtually) Zero Defective Parts Per Million


Despite thorough wafer and package testing, a small number of defective ICs can make their way into systems. These test "escapes" often return as field failures, increasing costs and eroding profit margins. They can also present a hazard if deployed in safety-critical systems, which is why companies purchasing semiconductors for automotive, medical, or aerospace applications often demand a zero... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Jan. 10


Antiferromagnetic magnetoelectric RAM Researchers at Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR), Swiss Nanoscience Institute, and the University of Basel developed a concept for a new, low power memory chip. In particular, the group focused on finding an alternative to MRAM using magnetoelectric antiferromagnets, which are activated by an electrical voltage rather than by a current. "... » read more

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