Pathfinding Beyond FinFETs


Though the industry will likely continue to find ways to extend CMOS finFET technology further than we thought possible, at some point in the not-so-distant future, making faster, lower power ICs will require more disruptive changes. For something that could be only five to seven years out, there’s a daunting range of contending technologies. Improvements through the process will help, from E... » read more

We Must Teach Chips To Feel Pain


By Guido Groeseneken When I was a doctorate student in the 1980s there was lots of wild speculation about Moore’s Law: give it another 10 years and transistors will stop getting smaller, they were saying back then. But in the end, the creativity of engineers turned out to be greater than the pessimism of the forecasters. Yet today I believe that we are close to the end of Moore’s Law.... » read more

Issues And Options At 5nm


While the foundries are ramping up their processes for the 16nm/14nm node, vendors are also busy developing technologies for 10nm and beyond. In fact, chipmakers are finalizing their 10nm process offerings, but they are still weighing the technology options for 7nm. And if that isn’t enough, IC makers are beginning to look at the options at 5nm and beyond. Today, chipmakers can see a p... » read more

The Search For The Next Transistor


In the near term, the leading-edge chip roadmap looks fairly clear. Chips based on today’s finFETs and planar fully depleted silicon-on-insulator (FDSOI) technologies are expected to scale down to the 10nm node. But then, the CMOS roadmap becomes foggy at 7nm and beyond. The industry has been exploring a number of next-generation transistor candidates, but suddenly, a few technologies are ... » read more

All Indicators Point North


Designing and producing chips has always been difficult, but the number of things that conspire to make it harder at 20nm is the longest in the history of the semiconductor industry. The list will grow longer still at 14nm and beyond, not to mention so expensive that one mistake will kill a company. While system engineers and architects look at the challenges on the front end, the problems ... » read more