Near-Threshold Issues Deepen


Complex issues stemming from near-threshold computing, where the operating voltage and threshold voltage are very close together, are becoming more common at each new node. In fact, there are reports that the top five mobile chip companies, all with chips at 10/7nm, have had performance failures traced back to process variation and timing issues. Once a rather esoteric design technique, near... » read more

Extending The IC Roadmap


An Steegen, executive vice president of semiconductor technology and systems at Imec, sat down with Semiconductor Engineering to discuss IC scaling and chip packaging. Imec is working on next-generation transistors, but it is also developing several new technologies for IC packaging, such as a proprietary silicon bridge, a cooling technology and packaging modules. What follows are excerpts of t... » read more

The Power Of De-Integration


The idea that more functionality can be added into a single chip, or even into a single system, is falling out of vogue. For an increasing number of applications, it's no longer considered the best option for boosting performance or lowering power, and it costs too much. Hooman Moshar, vice president of engineering at Broadcom, said in a keynote speech at Mentor's User2User conference this w... » read more

Packaging Chips For Cars


As the complexity of automotive chips grows, so does the complexity of the package. In fact, packaging is becoming increasingly crucial to the performance and reliability of the chips, and both parts need to meet stringent safety standards before they are used inside a vehicle. This is true for all safety-critical applications, but for automotive in particular there are several key reasons w... » read more

More Nodes, New Problems


The rollout of leading-edge process nodes is accelerating rather than slowing down, defying predictions that device scaling would begin to subside due to rising costs and the increased difficulty of developing chips at those nodes. Costs are indeed rising. So are the number of design rules, which reflect skyrocketing complexity stemming from multiple patterning, more devices on a chip, and m... » read more

IP Issues At 10/7nm


For years chip makers have been demanding more options to assist them in getting silicon to market faster. As of 2018, there are now so many possibilities for chip makers that engineering teams of all types are having trouble wading through all the possibilities. To make matters worse, many of today’s choices now come with unexpected and often unwanted caveats. At the most advanced nodes... » read more

Design Rule Complexity Rising


Variation, edge placement error, and a variety of other issues at new process geometries are forcing chipmakers and EDA vendors to confront a growing volume of increasingly complex, and sometimes interconnected design rules to ensure chips are manufacturable. The number of rules has increased to the point where it's impossible to manually keep track of all of them, and that has led to new pr... » read more

What Happened To Nanoimprint Litho?


Nanoimprint lithography (NIL) is re-emerging amid an explosion of new applications in the market. Canon, EV Group, Nanonex, Suss and others continue to develop and ship NIL systems for a range of markets. NIL is different than conventional lithography and resembles a stamping process. Initially, a lithographic system forms a pattern on a template based on a pre-defined design. Then, a separa... » read more

Why All Nodes Won’t Work


A flood of new nodes, half-nodes and every number in between is creating confusion among chipmakers. While most say it's good to have choices, it's not clear which or how many of those choices are actually good. At issue is which [getkc id="43" kc_name="IP"] will be available for those nodes, how that IP will differ from other nodes in terms of power, performance, area and sensitivity to a v... » read more

By the Power Vested in Me, I Now Pronounce You (The SoC Designer)…


…Doomed. Well, maybe that’s a little harsh, but your job won’t be getting any easier; that “happily ever after” may be harder to achieve than you think, and there are a number of reasons why. And by “me” (of vested power), here I’m really talking about the power of the consumer market as a whole and our collective insatiable demand for newer, shinier…well, just plain “coo... » read more

← Older posts