Avoiding Gloom With Better Knowledge


The rate of product development is facing very real challenges as the pace of silicon technology evolution begins to slow. Today, we are squeezing the most out of transistor physics, which is essentially derived from 60-year-old CMOS technology. To maintain the pace of Moore’s law, it is predicted that in 2030 we will need transistors to be a sixth of their current size. Reducing transistor s... » read more

The Future Of Embedded Monitoring, Part 1


Shall I compare thee to a…Rolls Royce jet engine? ‘There is a new era dawning whereby deeply embedded sensing within all technology will bring about great benefit for the reliability and performance of semiconductor-based products.’ These were my words during a presentation to an industry audience in China back in September 2015. During that same presentation, somewhat to the consterna... » read more

Verification Pilgrims Show A Historical Case For DFT


The Mayflower Steps, where the Pilgrims are believed to have embarked on their journey to America, are located in the beautiful Barbican area of Plymouth, a small town in the southwest of England. As the lone American working for Moortec, a British company based in Plymouth, I stood and stared at them this past September. Separated by a few yards of distance but 399 years of history I found my... » read more

Finding Hotspots In AI Chips


Things are getting far more complicated as we move down to 7nm & 5nm but the tolerances of some of the physical effects that we have been measuring in the past are much tighter than they were at the older nodes. How do we track all that? What we see is that as we descend through the advanced nodes, say from 16nm down to 12nm, 7nm and more recently 5nm, we see that gate density starts to ... » read more

How To Reduce Thermal Guard-Banding


Accuracy in temperature sensors can have a big impact in designs from 40nm down to 7nm and beyond, reducing the amount of guard-banding that is required, which in turn can lower the power and extend the life and reliability of components. But at these process geometries, not all sensors measure temperature equally. Thermal guard-banding is a very important consideration for design teams, and... » read more

5 Reasons Why In-Chip Monitoring Is Here To Stay


When the first car rolled off his production line in 1913, Henry Ford would have already envisioned just how prolific the automobile would become. However, would he have foreseen the extent to which monitors and sensors would become critical to the modern internal combustion engine? The requirement for energy efficiency, power performance and reliability in high volume manufactured vehicles ... » read more

Explaining Adaptive Voltage Scaling And Dynamic Voltage Frequency Scaling


A Q&A with Moortec CTO Oliver King. What exactly do we mean by Adaptive Voltage Scaling versus Dynamic Voltage Frequency Scaling? Adaptive Voltage Scaling (AVS) involves the reduction of power by changing the operating conditions within an ASIC in a closed loop. Dynamic Voltage Frequency Scaling (DVFS), on the other hand, is a power management technique where the voltage is increased ... » read more

Process Detection & Variability


A Q&A with Moortec CTO Oliver King. What do we mean by process variation? Process variation is a complex subject which covers a range of effects, but broadly we can consider that the effects are caused by imperfections in the manufacturing process. Examples are implant variations, mask misalignments, and optical variations. These all add up to give statistical variation on the ideal o... » read more

Supply Monitoring On 28nm & FinFET: The Challenges Posed


A Q&A with Moortec CTO Oliver King. What are the issues with supplies on advanced nodes? The supplies have been coming down, quicker than the threshold voltages which has led to less supply margin. In addition to this, the interconnects are becoming thinner and closer together, which is pushing up resistance and also capacitance. What is the effect of these issues? In short, it... » read more

Thermal Issues And Modern SoCs: How Hot Is Hot?


A Q&A with Moortec CTO Oliver King. What are the thermal issues of modern SoCs? Gate density has been increasing with each node and that pushes up power per unit area, and I think that has become an even bigger issue with FinFET processes where the channels are more thermally isolated than the planar processes before them. In the last few planar nodes, leakage was an issue which led ... » read more

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