Have Margins Outlived Their Usefulness?

To automate the process of solving complex design problems, the traditional approach has been to partition them into smaller, manageable tasks. For each task, we have built the best possible solution which we continuously refine over time. Additionally, we have managed the interdependencies between tasks by defining boundaries or margins; these often have been best- and worst-case values used t... » read more

Internet of FD-SOI Things?

Are fully-depleted silicon-on-insulator (FD-SOI) wafers having a moment? Certainly SOI wafers are not new. Soitec’s SmartCut layer transfer technology was patented in 1994, and wafers with implanted oxide layers were available before that. Still, adoption of SOI wafers has been limited. Though they offer improved device isolation and reduced parasitics, the increased wafer cost has been an ob... » read more

New System Requirements Demand a Creatively Choreographed Ecosystem

In the past, integrated circuits, packages and boards were all designed independently, and yet in most cases still managed to fit together with very few functional or technical problems. However, recent advances in chip performance have changed this process dramatically. New designs, processes and materials already have been seen in packaging as high-performance semiconductor chips need to c... » read more

Package Modeling Needs For A Robust IC Power Integrity Sign-Off

Progress in IC technology has allowed chip designers to pack more functionality and continually make better use of silicon area. This trend, coupled with the need to maintain low power using techniques such as voltage islands and power and clock gating, has caused the power consumption to vary across the chip and over time. This has introduced considerable amount of transient current peaks in t... » read more

Modeling High-Performance Analog And RF Circuits In Nanometer-Scale CMOS

By Mick Tegethoff and David Lee Today’s consumer, communication, and computer electronic devices have clocks, communication interfaces, and high-speed signal-conditioning circuits that operate at radio frequencies (RF). Providing price-competitive products often requires monolithic integration of these circuits in low-power nanometer-scale bulk CMOS silicon. This is a worst-case scenario for... » read more

One-On-One: Aaron Thean

Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss process technology, transistor trends and other topics with Aaron Thean, vice president of process technologies and director of the logic devices R&D program at Imec. SE: Chipmakers are ramping up the 16nm/14nm logic node, with 10nm and 7nm in R&D. What’s the current timeline for 10nm and 7nm? Thean: 10nm is on its way. We will see r... » read more

Tech Talk: Photonics, Take 2

Mentor Graphics’ John Ferguson explains why light is getting so much attention for inter-chip communications, where it excels, and why it has limitations. This is the second part in a two-part series. [youtube vid=4-5FbxIpIk4] To view part 1, click here. » read more

Analog IP Migration Using Design Knowledge Extraction

Demonstrated in this paper is a technique for automatic circuit resizing between different technologies. It relies on design knowledge extraction, which renders it very fast compared to full optimization approaches and allows handling of much larger circuits. This technique studies the original design and extracts its major features (basic devices & blocks features, device matching, parasitics,... » read more

Experts At The Table: The Growing Signoff Headache

By Ed Sperling Low-Power/High-Performance Engineering sat down to discuss signoff issues with Rob Aitken, an ARM fellow; Sumbal Rafiq, director of engineering at Applied Micro; Ruben Molina, product marketing director for timing signoff at Cadence; Carey Robertson, director of product marketing for Calibre extraction at Mentor Graphics; and Robert Hoogenstryd, director of marketing for design ... » read more