The Week In Review: Manufacturing

Chipmakers and OEMs Last month, Arizona approved Google’s Waymo unit to begin testing a commercial self-driving vehicle program. And recently, Waymo released a video showing its first autonomous ride-hailing service. “This development inches us closer than ever to a ‘first-man-on-the-moon’ landmark for Level 5 autonomous transport,” said Derek Viita, an analyst from Strategy Analytic... » 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

Trump Wants Critical Metals

In recent times, President Trump has taken an active role in the electronics and related sectors, notably the U.S. administration’s move to block Broadcom’s unsolicited, $117 billion takeover bid for Qualcomm. The Trump administration has also raised eyebrows by blocking other deals as well. And with little or no fanfare, the administration is also taking a role in another area—critica... » read more

How The Brain Saves Energy By Doing Less

One of the arguments for neuromorphic computing is the efficiency of the human brain relative to conventional computers. By looking at how the brain works, this argument contends, we can design systems that accomplish more with less power. However, as Mireille Conrad and others at the University of Geneva pointed out in work presented at December's IEEE Electron Device Meeting, the brain... » read more

CMOS-Embedded STT-MRAM Arrays In 2xnm Nodes For GP-MCU Applications

Perpendicular Spin-Transfer Torque (STT) MRAM is a promising technology in terms of read/write speed, low power consumption and non-volatility, but there has not been a demonstration of high density manufacturability at small geometries. In this paper we present an unprecedented demonstration of a robust STT-MRAM technology designed in a 2x nm CMOS- embedded 40 Mb array. Key features are full a... » read more

How Atomic Layer Deposition Works

Imagine being able to deposit a film of material just a few atomic layers at a time. As impossible as that sounds, atomic layer deposition (ALD) is a reality. In fact, it’s being used in an ever-increasing number of applications as an extremely precise and controllable process for creating thin films. Together with its etch counterpart – atomic layer etching (ALE) – ALD is enabling the us... » read more

DSA Re-Enters Litho Picture

By Mark LaPedus and Ed Sperling Directed self-assembly (DSA) is moving back onto the patterning radar screen amid ongoing challenges in lithography. Intel continues to have a keen interest in [gettech id="31046" t_name="DSA"], while other chipmakers are taking another hard look at the technology, according to multiple industry sources. DSA isn't like a traditional [getkc id="80" kc_name="... » read more

Mixing 4G And 5G

5G networks will impact the number and types of ICs in end-user devices and the base stations used to transmit the signals (including the repeaters that rebroadcast those signals). And this is before we begin to consider the technology impact to the infrastructure required to support the data generated in a 5G ecosystem (servers, memory and so on). First, 5G is expected to transmit up to 10 ... » read more

Non-Traditional Chips Gaining Steam

Flexible hybrid electronics are beginning to roll out in the form of medical devices, wearable electronics and even near-field communications tags in retail, setting the stage for a whole new wave of circuit design, manufacturing and packaging that reaches well beyond traditional chips. FHE devices begin with substrates made of ceramics, glass, plastic, polyimide, polymers, polysilicon, stai... » read more

Counting On Cryptocurrency

While cryptocurrencies may still be in the infancy of market development and adoption, the semiconductor industry has certainly felt the potential of blockchain technologies. In its fourth quarter 2017 earnings conference, TSMC commented on the strong demand from cryptocurrency-related businesses since the second half of 2017. These “mining” markets are driving leading-edge business at TSMC... » read more

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