The Quest For Perfection


Demands by automakers for zero defects over 15 years are absurd, particularly when it comes to 10/7nm AI systems that will be the brains of autonomous and assisted driving or any mobile electronic device. There are several reasons for this. To begin with, no one has ever used a 10/7nm device under extreme conditions for any length of time. Chips developed at these nodes are just starting to ... » read more

Solving Fan-Out Wafer-Level Warpage Challenges Using Material Science


Now more than ever we’re finding that semiconductor process engineers are turning to material scientists to help find solutions for their most complex challenges. Currently, they are looking for ways to improve fan-out wafer-level packaging (FOWLP), one of today’s hottest technologies for heterogeneous integration. Often, with these new advanced solutions come challenges that can impact ... » read more

Digital Fabrication’s Promise And Potential Pitfalls


Semiconductor functionality continues to expand, enabling robotic machines to analyze problems, make decisions and communicate information better than ever. These capabilities open the door for new applications such as Industry 4.0, a term now commonly used throughout Europe and the U.S. (more on Japan’s interpretation to follow). By integrating the performance capabilities of the Internet of... » read more

Who’s Paying For Auto Chip Test?


Testing of automotive chips is becoming more difficult and time-consuming, and the problem is only going to get worse. There is more to this than simply developing new test equipment or devising a better design for test flow. There are multiple issues at play here, and some of them are at odds with the others. First, no one has experience using advanced-node chips in extreme environments.... » read more

Some Human Musings On Machine Learning


Throughout our semiconductor industry, there are examples of binary balance. By that, I’m not just referring to the 1s and 0s in binary code. This balance also applies to n-well and p-well device features or the deposition and etching of materials on a wafer. This duality is present in our human makeup, too. We use both hard intellect and intangible feeling in recognizing challenges, findi... » read more

The Next Generation Of Fingerprinting Technology


We used to think of fingerprinting as simply placing your finger on an ink pad and then rolling it on paper to obtain an identifiable mark that would distinguish you from everyone else on the planet. In today’s world, fingerprinting has evolved to take on another, broader definition. According to dictionary.com, fingerprinting can also mean “any unique or distinctive pattern that presents u... » read more

What’s in a Name?


Test Vision 2020 is a specialty workshop held each year during Semicon West. Formerly known as ATE Vision 2020, the program focuses on automatic test equipment and related topics. This year’s edition heard a lot about artificial intelligence, automotive electronics, and machine learning, which have been the leading topics at every tech conference I’ve attended in 2018. The workshop’s t... » read more

Testing Cars In Context


The choices for companies developing systems or components that will work in autonomous vehicles is to road test them for millions of miles or to simulate them, or some combination of both. Simulation is much quicker, and it has worked well in the semiconductor world for decades. Simulating a chip or electronic system in context is hard enough. But simulating a system of systems in the real... » read more

Making Organic Semiconductors Plastic


Plastic. The very word implies deformability, the ability to bend and flex without damage in response to stress. In applications from biomedical sensors to solar cells, the potential advantages of organic semiconductors depend almost entirely on their deformability—are they flexible enough for inexpensive roll-to-roll processing? Able to tolerate flexion in use? Able to do without the bulky a... » read more

Growing The Semiconductor Workforce


The engine of industry is people. Nowhere is this more true than in the semiconductor industry. Think about it. This business does not depend on harvesting natural resources. It does not require that facilities be located near transportation hubs such as shipping ports. In our industry, the key to success is literally human resources. The rapid pace of innovation that characterizes the semic... » read more

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