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

Understanding Your Chip’s Age


A Q&A with Moortec CTO Oliver King. Why is understanding your chip's age important? Semiconductor devices age over time, we all know that, but what is often not well understood are the mechanisms for aging or the limits that will cause a chip to fail. In addition, there is bound to be a requirement for a minimum lifetime of a device which will depend on application but could be two or... » read more

Why Pinpoint Accuracy Is Important When Monitoring Conditions On Chip


A Q&A with Moortec CTO Oliver King. Why is there an increasing requirement for monitoring on chip? Since the beginning of the semiconductor industry, we have relied on a doubling of transistor count per unit area every 18 months as a way to increase performance and functionality of devices. Since 28nm, this has broken. As such, designers now need to find new ways to continue increasing... » read more

The Importance Of Embedded In-Chip Monitoring In Advanced Node CMOS Technology


By Oliver King & Ramsay Allen With advances in CMOS technology and the scaling of transistor channel lengths to nanometer (nm) dimensions, the density of digital circuits per unit area of silicon has increased as has the process variability of devices manufactured. The increase in digital logic (or gate) density, which equates to an increase in power density, is a major contributor to... » read more