3D NAND Race Faces Huge Tech And Cost Challenges


Amid the ongoing memory downturn, 3D NAND suppliers continue to race each other to the next technology generations with several challenges and a possible shakeout ahead. Micron, Samsung, SK Hynix and the Toshiba-Western Digital duo are developing 3D NAND products at the next nodes on the roadmap, but the status of two others, Intel and China’s Yangtze Memory Technologies Co. (YMTC), is les... » read more

Chiplet Momentum Builds, Despite Tradeoffs


Chip design is a series of tradeoffs. Some are technical, others are related to cost, competitive features or legal restrictions. But with the nascent 'chiplet' market, many of the established balance points are significantly altered, depending on market segments and ecosystem readiness. Chiplets provide an alternative mechanism for integrating intellectual property (IP) blocks into a semico... » read more

5G Heats Up Base Stations


Before 5G can be deployed commercially on a large scale, engineers have to solve some stubborn problems—including how to make a hot technology a whole lot cooler. 5G-capable modem chipsets are already on the market from Qualcomm, Samsung, Huawei, MediaTek, Intel and Apple, with some 5G service (LTE-Advanced/LTE-Advanced Pro) available in the U.S. But still mostly missing from the 5G equati... » read more

The Case For Embedded FPGAs Strengthens And Widens


The embedded FPGA, an IP core integrated into an ASIC or SoC, is winning converts. System architects are starting to see the benefits of eFPGAs, which offer the flexibility of programmable logic without the cost of FPGAs. Programmable logic is especially appealing for accelerating machine learning applications that need frequent updates. An eFPGA can provide some architects the cover they ne... » read more

Controlling IC Manufacturing Processes For Yield


Equipment and tools vendors are starting to focus on data as a means of improving yield, adding more sensors and analysis capabilities into the manufacturing flow to circumvent problems in real time. How much this will impact the cost of developing complex chips at leading-edge nodes, and in 2.5D and 3D-IC packages, remains to be seen. But the race to both generate data during manufacturing ... » read more

Single Vs. Multi-Patterning EUV


Extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography finally is moving into production, but foundry customers now must decide whether to implement their designs using EUV-based single patterning at 7nm, or whether to wait and instead deploy EUV multiple patterning at 5nm. Each patterning scheme has unique challenges, making that decision more difficult than it might appear. Targeted for 7nm, single pattern... » read more

Shedding Pounds In Automotive Electronics


Weight is emerging as a key concern for carmakers as more electronic circuitry is added into vehicles that are either fully or partially powered by batteries. As a result, chipmakers and OEMs are exploring alternative substrate materials, different types of sensor fusion, and new ways to reduce the number of wires. Adding pounds reduces driving range for electric or hybrid vehicles. The auto... » read more

How To Build An Automotive Chip


The introduction of advanced electronics into automotive design is causing massive disruption in a supply chain that, until very recently, hummed along like a finely tuned sports car. The rapid push toward autonomous driving has changed everything. This year, Level 3 autonomy will begin hitting the streets, and behind the scenes, work is underway to design SoCs for Level 4. But how these chi... » read more

Using Sensor Data To Improve Yield And Uptime


Semiconductor equipment vendors are starting to add more sensors into their tools in an effort to improve fab uptime and wafer yield, and to reduce cost of ownership and chip failures. Massive amounts of data gleaned from those tools is expected to provide far more detail than in the past about multiple types and sources of variation, including when and where that variation occurred and how,... » read more

In-Memory Computing Challenges Come Into Focus


For the last several decades, gains in computing performance have come by processing larger volumes of data more quickly and with superior precision. Memory and storage space are measured in gigabytes and terabytes now, not kilobytes and megabytes. Processors operate on 64-bit rather than 8-bit chunks of data. And yet the semiconductor industry’s ability to create and collect high quality ... » read more

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