What Does An IoT Chip Look Like?


By Ed Sperling and Jeff Dorsch Internet of Things chip design sounds like a simple topic on the face of it. Look deeper, though, and it becomes clear there is no single IoT, and certainly no type of chip that will work across the ever-expanding number of applications and markets that collectively make up the IoT. Included under this umbrella term are sensors, various types of processors, ... » read more

Conflicting Goals In Data Centers


Two conflicting goals are emerging inside of data centers—speed at any cost, and the ability to extend hardware well beyond its expected lifetime to amortize that cost. Layered across both of those are concerns about how to move data back and forth more efficiently, how to secure it, and how to best integrate different generations of technology. But these widely different goals have create... » read more

Big Changes In Patterning


Aki Fujimura, CEO of [getentity id="22864" comment="D2S"], sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to discuss patterning issues at 10nm and below, including mask alignment, the need for GPU acceleration, EUV's future impact on the total number of masks, and what the re-introduction of curvilinear shapes will mean for design. SE: Patterning issues are getting a lot of attention at 10nm and 7n... » read more

Battling Fab Cycle Times


The shift from planar devices to finFETs enables chipmakers to scale their processes and devices from 16nm/14nm and beyond, but the industry faces several challenges at each node. Cost and technical issues are the obvious challenges. In addition, cycle time—a key but less publicized part of the chip-scaling equation—also is increasing at every turn, creating more angst for chipmakers and... » read more

Deploying Multi-Beam Mask Writers


Elmar Platzgummer, chief executive of IMS Nanofabrication, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to discuss the company’s deal with Intel, photomasks, multi-beam mask writer technology and other topics. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SE: This has been a significant year for IMS for two reasons. First, Intel recently announced plans to acquire IMS. Second, at the recent ... » read more

7nm Fab Challenges


Leading-edge foundry vendors have made the challenging transition from traditional planar processes into the finFET transistor era. The first [getkc id="185" kc_name="finFETs"] were based on the 22nm node, and now the industry is ramping up 16nm/14nm technologies. Going forward, the question is how far the finFET can be scaled. In fact, 10nm finFETs from Samsung are expected to ramp by ye... » read more

Multi-Beam Market Heats Up


The multi-beam e-beam mask writer business is heating up, as Intel and NuFlare have separately entered the emerging market. In one surprising move, [getentity id="22846" e_name="Intel"] is in the process of acquiring IMS Nanofabrication, a [gettech id="31058" t_name="multi-beam e-beam"] equipment vendor. And separately, e-beam giant NuFlare recently disclosed its new multi-beam mask writer t... » read more

Taming Mask Metrology


For years the IC industry has worried about a bevy of issues with the photomask. Mask costs are the top concern, but mask complexity, write times and defect inspection are the other key issues for both optical and EUV photomasks. Now, mask metrology, the science of measuring the key parameters on the mask, is becoming a new challenge. On this front, mask makers are concerned about the critic... » read more

Mask Metrology Challenges Grow


Photomasks are becoming more complex at each node. In fact, masks are moving from traditional shapes to non-orthogonal patterns and complex shapes, such as curvilinear mask patterns. To measure patterns and shapes on the mask, photomask makers use traditional critical-dimension scanning electron microscopes (CD-SEMs). In general, the CD-SEM, the workhorse metrology tool in the mask shop, use... » read more

Mask Supply Chain Preps For 10nm


As the semiconductor industry gears up for the 10nm logic node—now likely to begin in the second half of 2017—the photomask supply chain is preparing to grapple with the associated challenges, including dramatic increases in photomask complexity, write times and data volumes. The 10nm node will require more photomasks per mask set, the ability to print smaller and more complex features, ... » read more

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