Building Faster Chips

By Ed Sperling and Jeff Dorsch An explosion in IoT sensor data, the onset of deep learning and AI, and the commercial rollout of augmented and virtual reality are driving a renewed interest in performance as the key metric for semiconductor design. Throughout the past decade in which mobility/smartphone dominated chip design, power replaced performance as the top driver. Processors ha... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: July 19

Detecting anapoles A*STAR has detected invisible particles. Researchers from the Singaporean R&D organization have observed a new optical effect in nanoscale disks of silicon, which are patterns of radiation that do not scatter light. One example of a non-radiating source is called an anapole. An anapole, according to A*Star, is a distribution of charges and currents. They do not radiate wi... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: July 19

Atomic storage In the search for ever-smaller storage, a team of scientists at Delft University in the Netherlands built a 1 kilobyte memory where each bit is represented by the position of one single chlorine atom. "In theory, this storage density would allow all books ever created by humans to be written on a single post stamp," said lead scientist Sander Otte. They reached a storage de... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: May 3

Nanowire batteries University of California, Irvine researchers invented a nanowire-based battery material that can be recharged hundreds of thousands of times. Nanowires have long been sought as a battery material. However, these filaments are extremely fragile and don't hold up well to repeated discharging and recharging, or cycling. In a typical lithium-ion battery, they expand and gro... » read more

Will 5nm Happen?

Chipmakers are ramping up their 16/14nm finFET processes, with 10nm finFETs expected to ship sometime in late 2016 or early 2017. So what’s next? The foundries can see a path to extend the finFET transistor to 7nm, but the next node, 5nm, is far from certain and may never happen. Indeed, there are several technical and economic challenges at 5nm. And even if 5nm happens, only a few compani... » read more

How Long Will FinFETs Last?

Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss how long FinFETs will last and where we will we go next with Vassilios Gerousis, Distinguished Engineer at [getentity id="22032" e_name="Cadence"]; Juan Rey, Sr. Director of Engineering for Calibre R&D at [getentity id="22017" e_name="Mentor Graphics"]; Kelvin Low, Senior Director Foundry Marketing at [getentity id="22865" e_name="Samsung"]; and Vic... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: June 16

Harmonic EUV The U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has devised an efficient extreme ultraviolet (EUV) source. The technology could one day be used for a new class of metrology tools, based on angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy (ARPES). This technique makes use of a photoelectric effect for studying materials. To enable the source, Berkeley Labs devel... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: April 14

Elastic energy harvesting Researchers from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and Seoul National University collaborated to develop a hyper-stretchable elastic-composite energy harvesting device. Their stretchable piezoelectric generator can harvest mechanical energy to produce a ~4V power output with around 250% elasticity and a durability over 104 cycles. The... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: Feb. 3

Robotic plants In 2012, the European Commission launched the so-called Plantoid project. In the project, researchers hope to devise synthetic robotic plants. Inspired by plant roots, the robots could be used for soil monitoring and other applications. The group is devising so-called artifacts. These components resemble plants and plant roots. The new technologies expected to result from the... » read more

More Problems Ahead

Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss future scaling problems with Lars Liebmann, a fellow at IBM; Adam Brand, managing director of transistor technology at Applied Materials; Karim Arabi, vice president of engineering at Qualcomm; and Srinivas Banna, a fellow for advanced technology architecture at GlobalFoundries. SE: Where are the most severe issues these days? Is it on the design... » read more

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