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Challenges In Backside Power Delivery


One of the key technologies to enable scaling below 3nm involves delivering of power on the backside of a chip. This novel approach enhances signal integrity and reduces routing congestion, but it also creates some new challenges for which today there are no simple solutions. Backside power delivery (BPD) eliminates the need to share interconnect resources between signal and power lines on t... » read more

Hot Trends In Semiconductor Thermal Management


Increasing thermal challenges, as the industry moves into 3D packaging and continues to scale digital logic, are pushing the limits of R&D. The basic physics of having too much heat trapped in too small a space is leading to tangible problems, like consumer products that are too hot to hold. Far worse, however, is the loss of power and reliability, as overheated DRAM has to continually r... » read more

Which Foundry Is In The Lead? It Depends.


The multi-billion-dollar race for foundry leadership is becoming more convoluted and complex, making it difficult to determine which company is in the lead at any time because there are so many factors that need to be weighed. This largely is a reflection of changes in the customer base at the leading edge and the push toward domain-specific designs. In the past, companies like Apple, Google... » read more

Wafer Cleaning Becomes Key Challenge In Manufacturing 3D Structures


Wafer cleaning, once a rather mundane task as simple as dipping wafers in cleaning fluid, is emerging as one of the top major engineering challenges for manufacturing GAA FETs and 3D-ICs. With these new 3D structures — some on the horizon but some already in high-volume manufacturing — semiconductor wafer equipment and materials suppliers in the wet cleaning business are at the epicenter... » read more

Improving Redistribution Layers for Fan-out Packages And SiPs


Redistribution layers (RDLs) are used throughout advanced packaging schemes today including fan-out packages, fan-out chip on substrate approaches, fan-out package-on-package, silicon photonics, and 2.5D/3D integrated approaches. The industry is embracing a variety of fan-out packages especially because they deliver design flexibility, very small footprint, and cost-effective electrical connect... » read more

How To Compare Chips


Traditional metrics for semiconductors are becoming much less meaningful in the most advanced designs. The number of transistors packed into a square centimeter only matters if they can be utilized, and performance per watt is irrelevant if sufficient power cannot be delivered to all of the transistors. The consensus across the chip industry is that the cost per transistor is rising at each ... » read more

The High Price Of Smaller Features


The semiconductor industry’s push for higher numerical apertures is driven by the relationship between NA and critical dimension. As the NA goes up, the CD goes down: Where λ is the wavelength and k1 is a process coefficient. While 0.55 NA exposure systems will improve resolution, Larry Melvin, principal engineer at Synopsys, noted that smaller features always come with a process cos... » read more

MicroLEDs Move Toward Commercialization


The market for MicroLED displays is heating up, fueled by a raft of innovations in design and manufacturing that can increase yield and reduce prices, making them competitive with LCD and OLED devices. MicroLED displays are brighter and higher contrast than their predecessors, and they are more efficient. Functional prototypes have been developed for watches, AR glasses, TVs, signage, and au... » read more

Big Changes In Architectures, Transistors, Materials


Chipmakers are gearing up for fundamental changes in architectures, materials, and basic structures like transistors and interconnects. The net result will be more process steps, increased complexity for each of those steps, and rising costs across the board. At the leading-edge, finFETs will run out of steam somewhere after the 3nm (30 angstrom) node. The three foundries still working at th... » read more

Fan-Out Packaging Gets Competitive


Fan-out wafer-level packaging (FOWLP) is a key enabler in the industry shift from transistor scaling to system scaling and integration. The design fans out the chip interconnects through a redistribution layer instead of a substrate. Compared to flip-chip ball grid array (FCBGA) or wire bonds, it creates lower thermal resistance, a slimmer package, and potentially lower costs. Yet, if the h... » read more

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