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EUV’s Uncertain Future


The ground appears to be solidifying under EUV. Intel announced this week it is reducing its stake in ASML to less than 3%, the second such move in a year. Apparently ASML no longer needs outside help. According to the company's earnings report, ASML turned in net sales of €2.776 billion, a slight increase over the €2.447 billion (GAAP) the company reported in Q3 and way up over the €... » read more

The Big Blur


Chip companies, research houses, foundries—and more recently large systems companies—have been developing alternative technologies to continue scaling power and performance. It's still not obvious which of those will win, let alone survive, or what they will do to the economics of developing chips. For more than five decades, the biggest concern was scaling devices in order to save money... » read more

The Hidden Cost Of Tariffs


The impact of tariffs on the semiconductor industry is just now being assessed, but there's a lot more to this picture than import and export duties. In fact, the biggest and longest-lasting effects may have less to do with taxing imports than what happens across the global supply chain that includes everything from manufacturing equipment to materials to investment capital. Import duti... » read more

Scaling Sideways


The next steps in semiconductor technology don't follow the same vectors. While 3nm chips are likely to roll out at some point in the future, it's not clear what the business case will be for developing them. What's clear is the number of companies developing chips at that node will shrink to a handful (or less), because they're going to be far too expensive to design, verify and manufacture... » read more

Materials, Magnetism & Quantum Physics


For the past half-century, chipmakers have been following the same roadmap for improving performance in chips and reducing the cost of chips. That has proven tremendously effective in reducing costs and packing computing into a smaller space, allowing people to carry around what used to be a multi-million-dollar mainframe in their pocket. That approach is beginning to lose momentum. It's ge... » read more

The Power Of De-Integration


The idea that more functionality can be added into a single chip, or even into a single system, is falling out of vogue. For an increasing number of applications, it's no longer considered the best option for boosting performance or lowering power, and it costs too much. Hooman Moshar, vice president of engineering at Broadcom, said in a keynote speech at Mentor's User2User conference this w... » read more

Mashup At 7nm


The merger of two standards organizations typically falls well below the radar of most engineers, but folding the ESD Alliance (formerly known as the EDA Consortium) into SEMI is a different kind of deal. Ever since the introduction of finFETs and multiple patterning, EDA tools have become an integral part of the development of new manufacturing processes. Without those tools, there is no po... » read more

AI: The Next Big Thing


The next big thing isn't actually a thing. It's a set of finely tuned statistical models. But developing, optimizing and utilizing those models, which collectively fit under the umbrella of artificial intelligence, will require some of the most advanced semiconductors ever developed. The demand for artificial intelligence is almost ubiquitous. As with all "next big things," it is a horizonta... » read more

Race Of Nations


Technology is the next arms race, and this is not just about national defense in the traditional sense. Countries collectively are pouring hundreds of billions of dollars into developing technology for the future, from education to outright grants and seed funding, and they are working with private industry to continue investing in their respective national futures. Which technologies and na... » read more

The Future Of FinFETs


The number of questions about finFETs is increasing—particularly, how long can they continue to be used before some version of gate-all-around FET is required to replace them. This discussion is confusing in many respects. For one thing, a 7nm finFET for TSMC or Samsung is not the same as a 7nm finFET for Intel or GlobalFoundries. There are a bunch of other nodes being proposed, as well, i... » read more

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