The Future Of Memory

Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss future memory with Frank Ferro, senior director of product management for memory and interface IP at Rambus; Marc Greenberg, director of product marketing at Synopsys; and Lisa Minwell, eSilicon's senior director of IP marketing. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. To view part 1, click here. Part 2 is here. SE: What’s the next big ... » read more

Modeling Semiconductor Process Variation

3D semiconductors, 3D NAND Flash, FinFETS and other advanced devices are bringing tremendous opportunities to the semiconductor industry. Unfortunately, these devices are also bringing new design, process and production problems. Process variability has been a major contributor to production delays as feature sizes have decreased and process complexity has increased. Virtual fabrication is a co... » read more

Transistor-Level Verification Returns

A few decades ago, all designers did transistor-level verification, but they were quite happy to say goodbye to it when standard cells provided isolation at the gate-level and libraries provided all of the detailed information required, such as timing. A few dedicated people continued to use the technology to provide those models and libraries and the most aggressive designs that wanted to stri... » read more

Rethinking Memory

Getting data in and out of memory is as important as the speed and efficiency of a processor, but for years design teams managed to skirt the issue because it was quicker, easier and less expensive to boost processor clock frequencies with a brute-force approach. That worked well enough prior to 90nm, and adding more cores at lower clock speeds filled the gap starting at 65nm. After that, th... » read more

Fab Issues At 7nm And 5nm

The race toward the 7nm logic node officially kicked off in July, when IBM Research, GlobalFoundries and Samsung jointly rolled out what the companies claim are the industry’s first 7nm test chips with functional transistors. They're not alone, of course. Intel and TSMC also are racing separately to develop 7nm technology. And in the R&D labs, chipmakers also are working on technologies f... » read more

10nm Fab Challenges

After a promising start in 2015, the semiconductor equipment industry is currently experiencing a slight lull. The pause is expected to be short-lived, however. Suppliers of [getkc id="208" comment="3D NAND"] devices are expected to add more fab capacity later this year. And about the same time, foundries are expected to order the first wave of high-volume production tools for 10nm. At 10nm... » read more

Predictive Fab Management

Managing variation requires a different approach in fab management, moving from reactive to predictive methodologies. This is easier said than done, however. Predictive fab management requires a much more detailed understanding of everything happening in the fab, including process variation, equipment variation, mix variation—all of which must be managed with dispatch strategies to produc... » read more

Seeing Spots At 10nm

By Ed Sperling The relentless march to smaller process nodes means the defects are getting smaller, more numerous, and much harder to find. That explains why Applied Materials and KLA-Tencor both introduced new defect review and classification tools last week. The move to the 1x nm is on the top of both companies’ agendas, and with that comes defects on the walls of finFETs in addition to... » read more

Experts At The Table: Changes In The Ecosystem

By Ed Sperling Semiconductor Manufacturing & Design sat down with Michael Buehler-Garcia, director of design solutions marketing at Mentor Graphics; Seow Yin Lim, group director for marketing at Cadence; Kevin Kranen, director of strategic alliances at Synopsys, and Tom Quan, director at TSMC. What follows are excerpts of that conversation. SMD: Does the increasing collaboration in the ecos... » read more

The X Factor

By Ed Sperling The number of unknowns is growing in every segment of SoC design all the way through manufacturing, raising the stakes between reliability and the tradeoffs necessary to meet market windows. Tools are available to deal with some of these unknowns, or X’s, but certainly not all of them. Moreover, no single tool can handle all unknowns, some of which can build upon other unkn... » read more

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