FinFET Scaling Reaches Thermal Limit

In 1974, Robert H. Dennard was working as an IBM researcher. He introduced the idea that MOSFETs would continue to work as voltage-controlled switches in conjunction with shrinking features, providing doping levels, the chip's geometry, and voltages are scaled along with those size reductions. This became known as Dennard's Law even though, just like Moore's Law, it was anything but a law. T... » read more

Power Management Heats Up

Power management has been talked about a lot recently, especially when it comes to mobile devices. But power is only a part of the issue—and perhaps not even the most important part. Heat is the ultimate limiter. If you cannot comfortably place the device on your face or wrist, then you will not have a successful product. Controlling heat, at the micro and macro levels, is an important asp... » read more

A Formal Transformation

A very important change is underway in functional verification. In the past, this was an esoteric technology and one that was difficult to deploy. It was relegated to tough problems late in the verification cycle, and it was difficult to justify the ROI unless the technology actually did find some problems. But all of that has changed. Formal verification companies started to use the technology... » read more

Coherency, Cache And Configurability

Coherency is gaining traction across a wide spectrum of applications as systems vendors begin leveraging heterogeneous computing to improve performance, minimize power, and simplify software development. Coherency is not a new concept, but making it easier to apply has always been a challenge. This is why it has largely been relegated to CPUs with identical processor cores. But the approach ... » read more

Searching For Rare Earths Again

Rare earths are back in the spotlight again. Rare earths are chemical elements found in the Earth’s crust. They are used in cars, consumer electronics, computers, communications, clean energy and defense systems. The big market for rare earths is magnets. In semiconductor production, rare earths are used in high-k dielectrics, CMP slurries and other applications. Last year, the World Tr... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: Jan. 13

Pop-up 3D printing Northwestern University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed a new “pop-up” printing technique to make 3D structures down to 100nm. The technique has advantages over today’s 3D printing, which is creating a lot of buzz, if not hype, in the market. Researchers from Northwestern and Illinois devised a printing technique that mimics the act... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: April 22

Detecting counterfeit goods Rare earths are chemical elements found in the Earth’s crust. They are critical for use in the production of cars, consumer electronics, computers, communications, clean energy, health care, national defense systems and others. Researchers are looking for new ways to integrate rare earths into potential chips and other applications. For example, the Massachuset... » read more

Semiconductor Fab Materials Outlook

By Dan Tracy While segments of the global economy are slowing and uncertainty is once again on the rise, fundamental unit trends for semiconductor materials have improved in recent months and growth expectations for the fab materials market remain modest for 2012 and into 2013. Three-month shipment data shows silicon shipments—from the wafer suppliers to the fabs—during the current cycl... » read more

The Threat Within

By Connie Duncan Given that today’s advanced chips can contain billions of transistors, 60 miles of copper wiring and 10 billion vertical connections between metal layers, the challenges and potential pitfalls this level of complexity presents are mind-boggling. One major problem on the horizon at 20nm and below is the threat of voids forming in the vertical interconnects commonly called via... » read more

Experts At The Table: Multipatterning

By Ed Sperling Semiconductor Manufacturing & Design sat down with Michael White, physical verification product line manager at Mentor Graphics; Luigi Capodieci, R&D fellow at GlobalFoundries; Lars Liebmann, IBM distinguished engineer; Rob Aitken, ARM fellow; Jean-Pierre Geronimi, CAD director at STMicroelectronics; and Kuang-Kuo Lin, director of foundry design enablement at Samsung Ele... » read more