Week In Review: Design, Low Power


Intel disclosed a speculative execution side-channel attack method called L1 Terminal Fault (L1TF). Leslie Culbertson, Intel's executive vice president and general manager of Product Assurance and Security, writes: "This method affects select microprocessor products supporting Intel Software Guard Extensions (Intel SGX) and was first reported to us by researchers at KU Leuven University, Techni... » read more

More Performance At The Edge


Shrinking features has been a relatively inexpensive way to improve performance and, at least for the past few decades, to lower power. While device scaling will continue all the way to 3nm and maybe even further, it will happen at a slower pace. Alongside of that scaling, though, there are different approaches on tap to ratchet up performance even with chips developed at older nodes. This i... » read more

Scaling Sideways


The next steps in semiconductor technology don't follow the same vectors. While 3nm chips are likely to roll out at some point in the future, it's not clear what the business case will be for developing them. What's clear is the number of companies developing chips at that node will shrink to a handful (or less), because they're going to be far too expensive to design, verify and manufacture... » read more

5nm Design Progress


Activity surrounding the 5nm manufacturing process node is quickly ramping, creating a better picture of the myriad and increasingly complex design issues that must be overcome. Progress at each new node after 28nm has required an increasingly tight partnership between the foundries, which are developing new processes and rule decks, along with EDA and IP vendors, which are adding tools, met... » read more

Where Is Selective Deposition?


For years, the industry has been working on an advanced technology called area-selective deposition for chip production at 5nm and beyond. Area-selective deposition, an advanced self-aligned patterning technique, is still in R&D amid a slew of challenges with the technology. But the more advanced forms of technology are beginning to make some progress, possibly inching closer from the la... » read more

Big Trouble At 3nm


As chipmakers begin to ramp up 10nm/7nm technologies in the market, vendors are also gearing up for the development of a next-generation transistor type at 3nm. Some have announced specific plans at 3nm, but the transition to this node is expected to be a long and bumpy one, filled with a slew of technical and cost challenges. For example, the design cost for a 3nm chip could exceed an eye-p... » read more

Chip Dis-Integration


Just because something can be done does not always mean that it should be done. One segment of the semiconductor industry is learning the hard way that continued chip integration has a significant downside. At the same time, another another group has just started to see the benefits of consolidating functionality onto a single substrate. Companies that have been following Moore's Law and hav... » read more

Blog Review: June 13


Synopsys' Taylor Armerding looks at what the flaws in OpenPGP and S/MIME encryption means for the IoT and warns that the problems of patching such devices could lead to an increasing chance of security failures. Cadence's Paul McLellan takes a peek at Imec's roadmap to see what the path to 3nm looks like, how nanosheets fit in, and why design and system technology co-optimization is necessar... » read more

New Transistor Types Vs. Packaging


Plans are being formulated for the rollout of multiple types of gate-all-around FETs and literally dozens of advanced packaging options. The question now is which ones will achieve critical mass, because there aren't enough chips in the world to support all of them profitably. FinFETs, which were first introduced by Intel at 22nm, are running out of steam. While they will survive 10/7nm, and... » 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

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