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CEO Outlook: Chiplets, Longer IC Lifetimes, More End Markets


Experts at the Table: Semiconductor Engineering sat down to discuss chiplets, longer IC lifetimes, and a spike in the number of end applications with Lip-Bu Tan, CEO of Cadence; Simon Segars, CEO of Arm; Joseph Sawicki, executive vice president of Siemens IC EDA; John Kibarian, CEO of PDF Solutions; Prakash Narain, president and CEO of Real Intent; Dean Drako, president and CEO of IC Manage; an... » read more

Chipmakers Getting Serious About Integrated Photonics


Integrating photonics into semiconductors is gaining traction, particularly in heterogeneous multi-die packages, as chipmakers search for new ways to overcome power limitations and deal with increasing volumes of data. Power has been a growing concern since the end of Dennard scaling, which happened somewhere around the 90nm node. There are more transistors per mm², and the wires are thinne... » read more

Reducing Power Delivery Overhead


The power delivery network (PDN) is a necessary overhead that typically remains in the background — until it fails. For chip design teams, the big question is how close to the edge are they willing to push it? Or put differently, is the gain worth the pain? This question is being scrutinized in very small geometry designs, where margins can make a significant difference in device performan... » read more

Lower Power Chips: What To Watch Out For


Low-power design in advanced nodes and advanced packaging is becoming a multi-faceted, multi-disciplinary challenge, where a long list of issues need to be solved both individually and in the context of other issues. With each new leading-edge process node, and with increasingly dense packaging, the potential for problematic interactions is growing. That, in turn, can lead to poor yield, cos... » read more

Retimers Replacing Redrivers As Signal Speeds Increase


Retimers are undergoing a renaissance as new PHY protocols prove too demanding for redrivers. Redrivers and retimers both have been used to extend wired signal reach over the years. But redrivers have dominated this space due to their relative simplicity and lower cost. That balance is beginning to change. “A retimer represents three things no one wants in their system — area, cost, a... » read more

Startup Funding: June 2021


June was the month of mega-rounds for autonomous driving companies, with three pulling in well over $100M. All three are based in China, but their products range from chips to full robotaxi services. Also in the automotive space, an EV battery manufacturer raised over $2B, a solid-state lidar developer drew $300M — and those are just the largest rounds. Plus, new HPC architectures, GAA metrol... » read more

Cleaning Up During IC Test


Test is a dirty business. It can contaminate a unit or wafer, or the test hardware, which in turn can cause problems in the field. While this has not gone unnoticed, particularly as costs rise due to increasing pin and ball density, and as more chips are bundled together in a package, the cost of dirt continues to be a focus. Cleaning recipes for test interface boards are changing, and analy... » read more

IC Data Hot Potato: Who Owns And Manages It?


Modern inspection, metrology, and test equipment produces a flood of data during the manufacturing and testing of semiconductors. Now the question is what to do with all of that data. Image resolutions in inspection and metrology have been improving for some time to deal with increased density and smaller features, creating a downstream effect that has largely gone unmanaged. Higher resoluti... » read more

New Design Approaches For Automotive


The push toward increasing autonomy in automotive is driving new approaches in electronics development. Instead of designing individual components, the focus now is on modeling in context. The ultimate goal is to create an executable specification based on industry-accepted standards, with enough flexibility to be able to customize that spec for different customers. This is a difficult engin... » read more

IoT Security: Confusing And Fragmented


Security regulations for Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices are evolving around the world, but there is no consistent set of requirements that can be applied globally — and there may never be. What exists today is a patchwork of certification labs and logos. That makes it difficult for IoT-device designers to know where to get their security blessed. Unlike in data centers, where there is a ... » read more

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