Chip Industry Week In Review

TSMC’s 3Dblox and ecosystem expansion; GF’s Dresden plans; Intel fined; Winbond’s CUBE; China’s litho alternative; Cadence’s latest acquisition; iPhone overheats; CISA’s HW bill of materials framework; ReRAM.


By Susan Rambo, Liz Allan, and Gregory Haley.

TSMC rolled out the second version of its 3Dblox, which creates an infrastructure for stacking chiplets and other necessary components in a package, along with a standardized way of achieving that. Two novel features are chiplet mirroring for design reuse, and what is basically sandbox for power and thermal analysis of different design elements.

Fig. 1: TSMC’s 3Dblox 2.0 Design. Source: TSMC

TSMC also expanded its collaboration with memory, substrate, and test vendors, OSATs, and EDA companies, in its 3DFabric Alliance, preparing for domain-specific and increasingly heterogeneous designs in a “More-Than-Moore” industry.

Fig. 2: TSMC’s Open Innovation Platform alliances. Source: TSMC

GlobalFoundries plans to spend $8 billion to double capacity in Dresden, Germany “when conditions are right.”

The system-in-package (SiP) market is projected to reach $33.8 billion by 2028, up from $21.2 billion in 2022, an 8.1% CAGR, reports Yole. The growth is fueled by chiplets, heterogeneous integration, and advanced packaging.

Cadence entered a definitive agreement to acquire Intrinsix Corporation from CEVA in a move that will add more engineers with aerospace and defense industry expertise — expertise in advanced nodes, radio frequency, mixed-signal, and security algorithms — to Cadence’s team.

On the Apple support website, more than 2,000 people reported their iPhone 15 was overheating, even when not using it. One report speculated that the cause is likely “compromises made in the thermal system design to achieve a lighter weight.”

CISA published its Hardware Bill of Materials Framework for Supply Chain Risk Management.

Quick links to more news:

Design and Power
Manufacturing and Test
Automotive and Batteries
Pervasive Computing, AI and Connectivity
Further Reading And Newsletters

Design and Power

Pressure is building for EDA vendors to have more all-encompassing simulations tools that can simulate systems of systems. The increasing complexity and the desire to shift left requires a federation of simulators and models, but they all need to work together to be of value.

Winbond unveiled its customized ultra-bandwidth elements (CUBE) memory technology, allowing seamless performance running generative AI on hybrid edge/cloud applications. The technology boosts the performance of front-end 3D structures and back-end 2.5D/3D chip on silicon interposer on substrate and fan-out solutions.

Keysight introduced its EDA 2024 toolkit for engineers working on high-speed, high-frequency projects, integrating Keysight’s system and circuit design workflows, power amplifier modeling and simulation optimization, and Satcom design.

ReRAM is now one of the leading contenders to replace the high end of the embedded flash (eFlash) lineup, although not likely NAND flash. Some new applications are demanding higher performance, and that improved speed is no longer achievable just through scaling flash.

AI workloads are pushing data centers into using more optical interconnects. Old protocols are evolving as new ideas emerge and volume of data increases.

Capgemini acquired HDL Design House, a silicon design and verification service firm based in Europe.

Microsoft is exploring the possibility of powering its data centers with nuclear power, via small modular reactors (SMR). A job posting for a principal program manager of nuclear technology says the role will be “responsible for maturing and implementing a global small modular reactor (SMR) and microreactor energy strategy.” The company is no longer accepting applications.

Q2 revenue for the top 10 global IC design houses climbed to $38.1 billion on strong AI chip demand, a 12.5% quarterly increase, with Q3 revenues on pace to set new record, according to TrendForce.

Portable Stimulus continues to gain ground, but largely below the radar. The new language provides a more efficient way to design and verify chips. All standards take time to become established — especially new languages and methodologies, which require an ecosystem to be developed.

Keysight, Synopsys, and Ansys collaborated on a new reference flow for TSMC’s N4PRF process for RFIC semiconductor design.

Synopsys achieved first-pass silicon success of its Universal Chiplet Interconnect Express (UCIe) IP on TSMC’s N3E process. Its analog design migration flow also was enabled across TSMC’s advanced process technologies, including N4P, N3E, and N2. In addition, Synopsys announced further collaboration with TSMC to advance multi-die designs with support for the 3Dblox 2.0 standard and TSMC’s 3DFabric technologies. Synopsys announced a broad portfolio of automotive-grade interface and foundation IP for TSMC’s N5A.

TSMC certified Cadence’s digital and custom analog flows for its N2 design rule manual (DRM). Cadence also announced its Integrity 3D-IC Platform supports TSMC’s 3Dblox 2.0 standard, expanded its hyperscale SoC IP portfolio for TSMC’s N3E process, added support for TSMC’s RF processes down to N4, and expanded its generative design migration flow for TSMC’s advanced processes.

TSMC certified several Siemens’ processes, including the Calibre nmPlatform tool for integrated circuit (IC) verification sign-off at N2; the mPower analog software for transistor-level electromigration and IR drop (EM/IR) sign-off for N4P, and the Solido Design Environment software for  N4P, N3E, and N2 custom design reference flows. In addition, Siemens’ analog FastSPICE platform conforms to TSMC’s Reliability Aware Simulation technology for IC aging and reliability features.

Infineon introduced a USB-C electronically-marked cable assembly controller with a configurable 47-byte storage space for vendor- and cable-specific configuration data, offering a single-chip solution measuring only 3.3 mm².

Digital quantum computing company SEEQC and Nvidia are working together on a multi-chip module quantum processor that will link GPUs chip-to-chip with a quantum computer. The hope is to create an on-chip, real-time quantum error correction to make quantum computers scalable to data centers.

A novel superconducting qubit architecture can perform operations between qubits with much greater accuracy than scientists have previously been able to achieve, according to researchers at MIT.

Manufacturing and Test

China is exploring using particle accelerators to create a novel laser source for semiconductor lithography.

Intel was fined €376 million euros ($400 million) by the European Union in an antitrust case for blocking rivals in the European market in the early 2000s, reports Reuters. A fine of $1.06 billion levied in 2009 for the case was thrown out last year by the General Court.

Industry experts in smart manufacturing of chips, including data management, chiplets, and standards, identified a number of data management challenges.

Advantest announced its MPT3000 solid-state drive (SSD) test system has been certified by PCI-SIG for high-speed compliance testing of PCI Express (PCIe) fifth-generation devices.

proteanTecs joined the TSMC Open Innovation Platform (OIP) 3DFabric Alliance. Its technology can provide “visibility” inside 3D-IC packages.

Lam Research will host an international innovation challenge to inspire kids in STEM and future solutions for climate change.

Onto Innovation finalized more than $100 million in orders for its Dragonfly G3 inspection system from leading logic and memory manufacturers for heterogeneous integrated packages, which combine a graphics processor (GPU) and numerous high bandwidth memory (HBM) devices to create an AI GPU in a single package.

Aki Fujimura, chairman and CEO of D2S, has been recognized as a Fellow by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, for technical leadership in applying GPU acceleration to semiconductor manufacturing software, significant service to SPIE, and industry collaboration through the eBeam Initiative.

And in case you missed the most recent Manufacturing, Packaging & Materials newsletter, check out top stories on building better bridges in advanced packaging; when and where to implement AI/ML in fabs; and ferroelectric memories answering the call for non-volatile alternatives. Plus, watch a video on the challenges of testing advanced packages.

Automotive and Batteries

Renesas released its RL78/G24 microcontroller, featuring an application-specific flexible application accelerator (FAA) and a fast CPU that can achieve an operating frequency of 48MHz, plus enhanced peripheral functions. The company is targeting the MCU at motor, power supply, and lighting control applications

Samsung SDI will invest $2 billion to build a second joint EV battery plant with Stellantis in the U.S., according to Reuters.

Sweden’s Northvolt will build a fully integrated $5.2 billion lithium-ion battery gigafactory in two suburbs of Montreal. It will have an annual cell production capacity of 60 GWh and adjacent facilities will produce cathode active materials and recycle used materials.

Nissan plans to achieve full electric vehicles (EVs) by 2030 in Europe, with all new Nissan European models from now on to be all-electric.

Lucid began assembling its Lucid Air EVs in its new advanced manufacturing plant in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, with a current capacity of 5,000 per year and a goal of 155,000 a year.

Volvo and Israel-based StoreDot will collaborate to develop extreme fast charging (XFC) cells to be optimized and tailored for Volvo’s future electric vehicle architectures. StoreDot’s “100in5” cells deliver 100 miles of range in five minutes of charging.

California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed Assembly Bill 316, which would have prevented heavy-duty driverless trucks from operating in the state and required a trained human driver to be present in autonomous vehicles weighing over 10,001 pounds.

The supply of automotive display panels will continue growing in 2023, and the OLED market share for automotive panels is forecast to reach 8.9% by 2026, according to TrendForce. Larger screens and more flexible spatial designs are required, but they also need to be more energy efficient.

China’s BYD became the fourth-largest global car brand in terms of car sales for August, with a 5% increase compared with July. It was just 0.1 percentage point behind Honda, which held the third position. With a decline of 6.7% compared with July, Ford dropped to sixth place.


Keysight and Synopsys are working together on IoT device cybersecurity, embedding Synopsys Defensics fuzzing tool as an option into the Keysight IoT Security Assessment solution.

Codasip will exclusively provide its application-specific integrated circuits (ASIC) customers with security technology from Verilock, implementing functions such as device authentication, firmware signing, original content provenance, and one-time pad encryption based on entropy extraction device technology.

Infineon’s OPTIGA Authenticate can be used to verify a wide range of replaceable components when recycling or refurbishing devices. The OPTIGA Authenticate S security chip is integrated in a product, allowing the host to verify the part is original or conforms to standards. The authentication process is managed by certificates, keys, and cryptographic tasks.

Run-time hardware Trojan detection is critically needed as the final layer of defense during chip deployment. Researchers from National University of Singapore focused on hardware Trojans that target the processor’s performance.

Since fault secured IP designs are susceptible to piracy threats, researchers at Indian Institute of Technology Indore and Indian Statistical Unit propose a technique that embeds encoded unified biometric based hardware security constraints into the design to provide detective control against IP piracy.

Broadcom announced that its Symantec division will be working with Google Cloud on cybersecurity powered by generative AI.

The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and multiple agencies published a joint advisory about China-linked cyber actors known as BlackTech, which have modified router firmware without detection and exploited routers’ domain-trust relationships, targeting companies in the U.S. and Japan. CISA also launched a nationwide cybersecurity public awareness campaign and issued multiple alerts.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) established the Center for AI Security Research (CAISER) to provide objective scientific analysis of vulnerabilities, threats, and risks as governments and industries adopt artificial intelligence.

Pervasive Computing, AI and Connectivity

Amazon will invest up to $4 billion in Anthropic. Anthropic will use Amazon Web Services (AWS)’ Trainium and Inferentia chips to build, train, and deploy its future foundation models, and AWS will be Anthropic’s primary cloud provider. Amazon developers and engineers will be able to build with Anthropic generative AI models via Amazon Bedrock.

DARPA selected four teams to explore diverse, hybrid architectures that integrate data-driven machine learning (ML) with symbolic reasoning, aiming to build robust, assured, and trustworthy AI-based systems.

OST Global and MITRE Engenuity demonstrated a series of new aviation and public safety use cases using 5G-enabled unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and AI/ML at the network edge. MITRE Engenuity Open Generation 5G Consortium also flew an uncrewed aircraft system (UAS) six miles beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) on the open generation 5G Stand Alone (SA) network, and unveiled 5G Ready, a validation program to accelerate 5G hardware and software integration.

Keysight and Ettifos successfully conducted a third generation partnership project Release 16 (Rel-16) Sidelink radio conformance test between the Ettifos SIRIUS 5G-V2X sidelink platform and Keysight’s advanced test equipment, paving the way for 5G vehicle-to-everything (5G-V2X) advancements.

IBM made generative AI models available under its watsonx Granite model series for business to scale AI. IBM’s standard intellectual property protections will apply to its AI models. IBM also is adding an AI Toolkit for IBM Z and LinuxONE due out in Q4 and a Python AI Toolkit for IBM z/OS, and updating existing AI development tools for its mainframes. In addition, the company is adding AI to its own z/OS 3.1 so the OS can learn and predict ways to improve IT processes, management, and performance, so as to “reduce special skills requirements.”

OpenAI rolled out voice and image capabilities in its generative language AI tool, ChatGPT, offering an intuitive interface that lets you have a voice conversation or show it what you’re talking about.

A new AI model from researchers at MIT‘s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) integrates diffusion and Poisson Flow, resulting in superior performance in generating new images, with potential applications in fields such as antibody and RNA sequence generation, audio production, and graph generation.

In Europe, the Fenix supercomputer infrastructure enabled a number of scientific breakthroughs in the Human Brain Project (HBP), including a new algorithm for fast and energy-efficient deep neuromorphic learning.

Keep It Simple Storage (KISS) introduced Infineon’s near-field communication (NFC)-powered, battery-free smart lock based on its NAC1080 microcontroller, a single-chip solution with integrated H-Bridge for passive NFC lock applications.


Find upcoming chip industry events here, including:

Event Date Location
SPIE Photomask Technology + EUV Lithography Oct 1 – 5 Monterey, CA
Strategic Materials Conference—SMC 2023 Oct 2 – 4 San Jose, CA
IMAPS Symposium 2023: International Symposium on Microelectronics, Oct 3 – 5 San Diego, CA
CASPA 2023 Annual Conference Oct 7 Santa Clara, CA
International Test Conference Oct 8 – 13 Anaheim, CA
WISH 2023: Women in Semiconductor Hardware Oct 12 San Jose, CA
OktoberTech Asia-Pacific 2023 Oct 13 Singapore
CadenceCONNECT: Jasper User Group 2023 Oct 18 – 19 San Jose, CA
Future of Computing: Domain-Specific Architecture Oct 19 Milpitas, CA
IEEE International Conference on Physical Assurance and Inspection of Electronics (PAINE) Oct 24 – 26 Huntsville, Alabama
PDF Solutions 2023 User Conference Oct 24 – 26 Santa Clara Marriott, CA
OktoberTech Silicon Valley Oct 25 Silicon Valley

Upcoming webinars are here.

Further Reading and Newsletters

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